With his famous last name, you'd expect Erik Ainge, a skilled 6-foot-6, 180-pound shooting guard from Hillsboro (OR) Glencoe HS, to be a multi-sport
athlete. In addition to starring on the basketball court for the Crimson Tide,
Ainge is also a standout quarterback on the gridiron and has been a starting
pitcher on the baseball mound. However, it appears that at the next level he
may need to make a choice to go in only one direction - and he's already cut
down on one sport.
"He's narrowed his choices between football and basketball," said Glencoe head
basketball coach Lonnie Morast.
This, despite the fact that Ainge can throw a 90 mph fastball. But football
and basketball are clearly the best sports for the nephew of former BYU and
Boston Celtics basketball star Danny Ainge. Erik Ainge's prowess on the
football field as a quarterback is well-known around the state, where his
reputation is starting to expand throughout the West Coast as a pocket passer
with an incredibly strong arm and great field vision.
But Ainge's accomplishments on the basketball court can't be sneezed at either.
A legitimate Division I prospect in hoops, Ainge averaged 17 points, eight
rebounds, and three assists this past season for Morast and the Crimson Tide,
who just missed out on a playoff bid. And as a multi-skilled athlete, it makes
perfect sense that he's a multi-purpose basketball player too.
"He can play every spot on the floor for us," said Morast.
Given that he plays on the offensive end on the gridiron, it comes as no
surprise that Ainge - who has a great feel for the game - loves to shoot and
score. In addition to a soft outside touch, he can also sneak inside on
occasion either on the drive or even scoring in the post.
"He's got a streaky shot but he has unbelievable range," said Morast. "He can
also get his shot off inside as good as anyone."
Ainge hasn't had the most talented teammates around him during his prep hoops
career, so at times he's fallen into the trap of trying to take things into his
own hands too much.
"Sometimes he has a tendency to do it all himself," said Morast. "He just
wants to win so badly."
Ainge has been hearing from a multitude of schools in both sports. In
basketball, BYU, Utah, Santa Clara, and Portland have shown great interest,
according to Morast. In football, the names are a bit bigger, as Oregon,
Arizona State, Stanford, and Michigan State have been closely evaluating him.
Oregon State has offered a scholarship.
But despite all the colleges looking at him in both sports, Ainge is still
trying to figure out which sport to concentrate in, much less which school he
will choose. While he had once expressed a desire to play more than one sport
in college, he apparently has since decided that he will only concentrate on
one in college. It will be a busy summer for Ainge, as he will play with the
Portland Elite Legends and Nike Team Oregon in AAU basketball and will also
attend several football camps - both in an attempt to help make him make a
final decision which sport he will ultimately stick with.
While Morast would love to see Ainge make the commitment to stick with hoops,
he does know it's going to be a tough call and isn't necessarily pushing the
hardwood to his star guard. Morast has no idea which way Ainge is leaning at
this point in time - and quite honestly doesn't think Ainge does either.
"I'd be surprised if he has any idea right now what he wants to do," said
Morast. "I just want him to do what's best for him."
Ainge is solid in the classroom, with a 3.8 GPA and a 1000 SAT score.
Be sure to keep a close eye on Ainge to see how he decides to pursue a career.
Jed Tai is a Senior Writer with Hoopville.com