Aiken on Illini Radar

Elizabeth (NJ) St. Patrick PG Bryce Aiken has been on a hot streak so far this spring on the EYBL circuit. See where things stand for the talented lead guard.

Throughout the EYBL, New Jersey-area point guard Bryce Aiken has seen his fair share of tough matchups. One in particular that would interest Illinois fans came when his PSA team squared off against the King James Shooting Stars and point guard Xavier Simpson.

The two have contrasting styles, and proved to be a worthy test for each other, with Aiken's PSA team taking the victory on overtime.

"Playing against him, he was a physical guard and he got his hands in there a few times," Aiken said. "He brought physicality against the game. I had to be more careful with the ball. I know I need to take care of the ball against a guy like that."

Aiken was the more offensively prolific of the two point guards, both in the game and on the weekend as a whole. Aiken gave credit to his teammates for setting him up for scoring opportunities.

"I think creating offense for myself and for my team helped," he said. "My teammates set some fabulous ball screens. I’m grateful for them getting me open shots, and my shot was falling when I was open."

Aiken got to the hoop at a respectable rate, but proved that he has become a much more viable outside scoring threat as a result of some serious time spent on his jump shot.

"I think it’s improved a ton," Aiken said of his shooting. "I’ve been putting a lot of work into it. I’m focusing on making a high percentage of my shots. Being a high-major point guard, you may only get 5 to 6 shots a game, so you need to make at least four or five of the six. I’ve put in a lot of time and work in the gym, and it’s paying off."

Aiken may not be mentioned in conversations as frequently when it comes to the top point guards of the EYBL, but he lets his play do the talking, and that's ultimately all that matters.

"Honestly, I don’t know that I have as much to prove to the coaches as I do to myself," he said. "Going against some of these top guards, I want to win every matchup and ultimately an EYBL championship."

Aiken's list of schools contains a heavy dose of academically-strong programs. His decision will factor in not only his hoops career, but also his life after basketball.

"Stanford, Miami, Seton Hall, Michigan, Harvard, Illinois are some of the schools I’m really interested in," Aiken explained. "Academics play a huge part. It’s my decision at the end of the day, and my family is included. They want what’s best for me in the long run. The ball stops bouncing at some point, so you need something to back that up."

Illinois is a school with a lot of playing time to offer at the position and features the academics that Aiken is seeking. So it's no surprise that he plans on seeing the campus sometime this summer.

"With Illinois, I’ve been in contact with them and the coaching staff there," he said. "I’m really looking forward to getting out there on a visit and seeing what it’s like there."

Visits are starting soon for Aiken, so it is likely his decision is made in advance of the early signing period in November.

"I’ve started to set up my official visits now," he said. "I’ll probably start taking them over the next couple months."

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