In Oct. 2015, Bryce Aiken had a decision to make. As a Top 100 recruit coming out of the Patrick School, the dynamic point guard had no shortage of suitors. Programs across the country longed for his commitment, but three stood out as his recruitment came to a close: Harvard, Miami and Seton Hall.
Instead of staying home to join his friend Myles Powell in South Orange or taking his talents to South Beach to play for Jim Larranaga, Aiken opted to play in the Ivy League and receive a world-class education at Harvard. For Seton Hall fans, it was yet another missed opportunity to land an elite point guard on the recruiting trail.
Fast forward five years later and things have come full circle. With his eligibility at Harvard up, Aiken had to go searching for a new home again. This time, he decided to return to the place where it all started.
After a graduate transfer recruiting process that spanned nearly a month with blueblood programs calling on a daily basis, Aiken committed to Seton Hall on Thursday over Iowa State, Maryland and Michigan.
“The NCAA extending the dead period and pushing back visits pretty much sealed the deal,” a source familiar with Aiken’s recruitment told The Setonian. “He wanted a place and coaching staff he was comfortable and familiar with.”
In four seasons at Harvard, Aiken averaged 16.8 points and 2.4 assists per game. His best season came in 2018-19, averaging 22.2 points per game and earning All-Ivy League and All-Ivy League conference tournament selections as a junior. Aiken averaged 16.7 points and 1.7 assists per game in seven games last season.
As a graduate transfer, Aiken will be immediately eligible for Seton Hall next season, giving Kevin Willard the point guard he needs to replace Quincy McKnight and make up for the lost production of Powell. Durability concerns follow Aiken to The Hall (49 missed games over the last three years), but the hope is that he can stay healthy enough to help the Pirates contend in the Big East and reach the NCAA Tournament in 2020-21.
“I feel like Seton Hall is building a special program,” Aiken told 247Sports’ Evan Daniels before committing. “Everyone has to respect coach Willard seeing the success he’s had not only with his players, but also the overall program the past four or five years beginning with Isaiah Whitehead. I never want to discount anyone prior to him playing there, but in my own experience of knowing Seton Hall, Whitehead was able to thrive in that system and bring that national spotlight to the SHU basketball. Then Myles Powell took them to a higher status within the college realm and that something you have to take into account. Coach Willard has a tremendous belief in his players. I’ve been able to rely on the relationship that I’ve had with him since my freshman year of high school and have enjoyed reconnecting with him.”
With Aiken now in the mix, Seton Hall has one open scholarship left to fill out next season’s roster.
Tyler Calvaruso can be reached at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter @tyler_calvaruso.