Recruiting news, preseason workouts, the release of the schedule… Let’s face it: outside of those things, summers are usually slow for college basketball fans. Except, of course, for the NBA Draft. The draft reels in both college and professional hoops folks alike, and while Rhody fans may not have a direct rooting interest this year, there’s still a few Atlantic 10 players to keep an eye on. Coming off one of their best basketball seasons in recent memory, the A-10 has a few players who could hear their name called on Thursday night. Let’s begin by taking a look at C.J. Aiken from the St. Joseph’s Hawks.
Aiken is an early entry into this year’s draft, leaving St. Joe’s after his junior year. He has hired an agent, so there’s no turning back now. The 6’9″, 200-pound power forward averaged 10.4 points and 5.6 rebounds for the Hawks last season, while shooting 50 percent from the field. But for some reason, he loved to jack up threes… a little odd for a guy his size. And especially odd in that he wasn’t very good at it. Aiken averaged just 25 percent from beyond the arc last season, while attempting nearly three long-balls per game.
Nevertheless, Aiken can still score the ball down low. He brings a lot of athleticism to the table, but not a whole lot of toughness, which has certainly hurt his pre-draft rankings. DraftExpress lists him as the 99th ranked player overall in this year’s pool, while NBADraft.net slots him at number 85. That may not be high enough to get selected, but anything can happen on Draft Day. If Aiken does come off the board, it will likely be in the mid- to late-second round.