The news of Marquette men’s basketball getting involved with transfer just keeps on trickling in, it seems. We’ve already talked about the interest that the Golden Eagles have shown in Wichita State transfer Jamarius Burton, but now we’ve got a graduate transfer to cover. Bryce Aiken has finished up his degree at Harvard, and because the Ivy League does not allow graduate students to compete in athletics, Aiken is looking for a new home.
According to what Aiken told Evan Daniels of 247 Sports, Marquette is one of the schools that has reached out already.
“So far Maryland, Marquette, Seton Hall a little bit,” Aiken said. “I’ve spoken to Juwan Howard over at Michigan, the head coach of Iowa State, Kansas has reached out, but not to me personally yet and Gonzaga.”
Daniels points out that Aiken was being recruited by Maryland and Seton Hall when he was a prep prospect out of New Jersey. That’s just restarting old relationships there, so I would imagine that puts MU behind in the race already. The allure of Michigan, Kansas, and Gonzaga is obvious due to the quality of the programs, so it seems Aiken will be able to have his pick of warm and friendly landing spots.
Aiken played for three seasons at Harvard and then suffered a season ending injury just seven games into the 2019-20 season. He would require a medical wavier to play in 2020-21 again, but that seems like a mere formality than anything else. The former top 100 prospect averaged 16.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists during his career with the Crimson, and I phrased that sentence the way I did on purpose.
Aiken played just 58 games in three seasons at Harvard, totaling just 14 appearances in his sophomore year and 18 as a junior. The sophomore season was the one that ended in the NIT loss to Marquette at the Al McGuire Center, and Aiken was one of two major players missing for the Crimson in that game. The knee injury that sidelined Aiken for the final 12 games of the 2017-18 season seems to be the reason why he missed the first 13 games of the 2018-19 season. And then he went out for the rest of 2019-20 with an injury after just seven games.
Look, he’s clearly a talented player. We also have to be wary of a guy who has missed all that time in three seasons due to injury. Wherever Aiken goes, he’s going to be available for only one season, barring the NCAA giving him a waiver for a sixth season due to all the time he missed as a sophomore and junior. That seems unlikely, though. Having an experienced guard like the 6’0”, 175 pound Aiken would be a boon to the Marquette roster. But if he comes in to Milwaukee and gets hurt again..... well, that’s not particularly great, is it?
Here’s what MU’s scholarship situation looks like right now.
Between Koby McEwen, Greg Elliott, Symir Torrence, and Dexter Akanno, Marquette doesn’t really have a lot of depth in the guard department that makes you feel warm and fuzzy about in terms of heavy minutes for the 2020-21 season. Gambling on Aiken’s health might be worth it for the Golden Eagles, who will need a steady hand in the backcourt to go with their ultra-talented freshmen bigs.
Aiken also seems to have his sights set on letting things play out through the coronavirus lockdowns, and not just for safety reasons. Here’s his own words to Daniels again:
“I guess you could say the Blue Blood schools and Michigan State I would definitely love to hear from,” he said. “Seeing Cassius [Winston] in their program and him obviously leaving to go to the NBA this year, it would definitely be an interest of mine.”
If he has his sights set on heading to the biggest name school that he can possibly get a spot with, then that’s going to likely leave Marquette out of the picture.