St. Joe's Scores Local Big

Ten days ago, St. Joe's scored a strong commitment. C.J. Aiken, a wiry power forward out of Plymouth Whitemarsh had A-10 options and went with Phil Martelli's crew.

Phil Martelli owns a commitment from one of the areas most promising rising seniors. Plymouth (Penn.) Whitemarsh big man C.J. Aiken selected the St. Joseph's Hawks after looking long and hard at Temple and LaSalle.

"It was three great programs from Philly," Whitemarsh coach Jim Donofrio said. "The coaches were all terrific and it was hard for him to tell the other guys no. He's a quiet guy and didn't love the process. He could have gone through July and opened up a lot of conversations."

Whitemarsh has cranked out its share of talented players. If Aiken is next he'll follow the path carved out by John Salmons. Unlike Salmons, Aiken was a known commodity early in his high school career. "John Salmons was an interesting case. He was a guy that got a little better each year and snuck up on everybody. CJ at 6-foot-9 with natural ability stood out early on. Salmons' work ethic is out of this world, he's obsessed. Coach Martelli said Jameer Nelson was the same way. If C.J. can figure that out, with his potential, he'll be OK."

Aiken averaged 14.5 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks a game as a junior.

"Defensively he's a very strong defender and shot blocker. We were in the state semis at the 4-A level and he never fouled out of a game and averaged 8-9 blocks a game. Everyone wants to go at the big guy but with us it wasn't a very intelligent thing to do. He has a natural gift."

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