Knicks burly center Cole Aldrich had a golden opportunity to make the club as a backup pivot but coach Mike Woodson called him out Saturday night saying he’s got to be more rugged if he’s going to stick.

Meanwhile one of Aldrich’s competitors for backup center undersized 6-foot-8 Ike Diogu was a beast off the bench scoring 21 points with eight rebounds a monster inside versus Boston. Diogu made nine of 11 free throws. With Woodson resting five of his top players including Carmelo Anthony the Knicks were walloped 111-81 by the Celtics in the preseason game. Woodson still decided to rip the effort of the reserves who played.

“There’s nothing pretty about the game’’ he said. “You got to be proud to wear a Knick uniform. Tonight it was an embarrassment. I take full responsibility. I’m not happy about that. I failed as a coach.”
Aldrich was signed a week before training camp and Knicks president/GM Steve Mills pointed out the Knicks main hole in the roster is not having a legit backup center.

Woodson said he let Aldrich have it during a timeout in Friday’s preseason loss in Toronto. “I want him to be a little tougher.”

Woodson said before the game. “I told him [Friday] during a timeout when you’re trying to make someone’s ballclub bigs have to do dirty work. You have to be nasty take hard fouls rebound and doing all the dirty work to help you win game. I’m not seeing that a lot in him he’s got to pick it some.’’
Aldrich had a big offensive putback but made an early turnover and wasn’t nearly as aggressive as Diogu. He had two points and four rebounds in 16 minutes and was a plus-4. By contrast Josh Powell whom Woodson started was a minus-41.

Aldrich said Woodson’s message was him needing to be more aggressive on a penetrator in terms of blocking a shot or laying a hard foul.