Bryce Aiken is one of the best available grad transfers left in college hoops and Seton Hall has a legitimate shot to land him.
The Seton Hall Pirates are looking to regroup after the bittersweet finish to the 2020 season. The team finished with a share of the Big East regular-season title, but wouldn’t play in the Big East Tournament or the NCAA Tournament due to the coronavirus shutdown.
According to Evan Daniels of 247Sports, Aiken has narrowed down his list of schools to Seton Hall, Michigan, Maryland, and Iowa State. He told 247 Sports exactly why he’s considering the Pirates:
“I feel like Seton Hall is building a special program. Everyone has to respect coach [Kevin] Willard, seeing the success he’s had not only with his players but also the overall program over 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.”
Even if Aiken doesn’t wind up in South Orange, his read on Willard and Seton Hall is significant. The program hit a turning point with Isaiah Whitehead in 2016 on multiple fronts. First, the Pirates made four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and were sure for a fifth in 2020.
Additionally, Powell will likely become the third player from Seton Hall to go to the NBA since 2016. Whitehead began the trend with the Brooklyn Nets and Angel Delgado had a small stint with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2018-19.
There’s potential for success in March and the Big East gives plenty of visibility for players who want to play at the next level. That’s a pretty strong pitch from Willard.
It’s going to be impossible to replicate everything Powell did for Seton Hall, but Aiken is made in the same mold. He’s a 6-foot guard with a knack for scoring. As a junior for the Crimson, Aiken averaged 22.2 points per game while shooting 43.4% from the floor and 39.8% from deep.
During that breakout season, the fearless guard hoisted 7.1 threes per game. There’s no doubt he can sill a similar role to Powell in Willard’s system. There’s obviously more to it than plug and play. The point is that the Pirates can once again build around a dynamic combo guard who will command the lion’s share of the attention from the defense.
A foot injury limited Aiken to just seven games during the 2019-20 season, but a medical redshirt ensures that his college career can continue.
He would be an absolute steal for Willard and the Pirates if he ends up in New Jersey. There are three other programs from big conferences competing with Seton Hall. Aiken isn’t setting a deadline for a decision so for now, the schools will have to play the waiting game.