Aiken continues his rise

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Rising junior point guard Bryce Aiken has had quite the summer. He followed up a June scholarship offer from LaSalle with solid play at the Reebok Breakout Classic in Philadelphia that led to an offer from USF and interest from Big Ten and ACC Schools.
"Coming into the summer, (I) just wanted to win a lot of tournaments, get exposure and get better as a player," Aiken said. "I feel like I learned more about the game and improved my game as well."
The 6-foot, 160-pound lead guard gets after it on defense and showed that he's up to the task of running a team, being a vocal leader and getting his teammates involved. He recognizes when to push the fast break and when to slow it down and run the half-court offense. Playing for Team Scan in the Nike EYBL, Aiken also showed off his shooting ability while connecting on slightly better than 40 percent of his attempts beyond the arc
"Definitely taking control of the game, controlling the pace and not turning the ball over," said Aiken when asked how he felt he has improved since the end of the high school season.
In addition to LaSalle and USF, Aiken listed offers from Auburn, Creighton, Delaware, Detroit, Manhattan, Miami, Rutgers, Seton Hall and St. Francis.
"I was definitely honored getting an offer by a high major school like USF," Aiken said. Coach Orlando [Antigua] coming from Kentucky and the guards hey have there, it was definitely an honor."
Other high majors are taking notice including one from the ACC and one from the Big Ten.
"Maryland and Wake Forest said they're going to offer soon," Aiken said. "[Maryland assistant] Coach Bino [Ransom loves my preparation for the game, my focus and how I run the team. He tells me to keep being hungry and keep working on my game. One of the Wake Forest assistants talked to my Team Scan coach and said they were going to recruit me."
Aiken's thoughts on those programs?
"I'm not too familiar with them," he said. I've watched Maryland a lot on TV because I don't live too far from them. I'm going to go on an unofficial visit there in August to see what it's like. I may visit Wake Forest in August as well but I'm not sure yet. I don't know too much about their program.
Winner of the Academic Excellence Award at the Sharette Dixon Classic, an award given to high school players who have maintained a cumulative 3.5 GPA or better, Aiken talked about his commitment to academics and how it will factor into his college choice.
"Academics are definitely a big part," Aiken said. "My family pushes me and stays on me about that. Everyone in my family takes school seriously so it runs in my family. When it comes to making a decision it will play a big part because you never know what happens so you need to have a backup plan."
During the Nike EYBL regular season Aiken averaged 7.9 points and 2.1 assists per game. In the Peach Jam he averaged 9.4 points and two assists per outing.
Russ Wood is a basketball recruiting analyst for and Inside the Gators. Click here to follow him on Twitter.
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