Harvard point guard Bryce Aiken apparently has a tight bond with Kyrie Irving – both spent their high school years at The Patrick School in New Jersey.
It fits because Aiken was a one-man scoring show during Harvard’s 85-97 loss to Yale in the Ivy League Championship on Sunday afternoon. Aiken kept defenders dancing all game with a deep array of dribbling moves and acrobatic finishes at the rim that looked eerily familiar to Uncle Drew.
Aiken finished with 38 points on a game-leading 35 minutes for the Crimson who let a close game get away from them down the stretch. The junior shot fireballs from all over the floor, aided by his ability to get wherever he wants to on the floor.
Bryce topped his own Ivy-League tournament scoring record but was not interested in individual accolades after coming agonizingly close to punching Harvard’s ticket to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2015.
“I’m not really concentrated on the scoring,” a somber Aiken said after the game. “It was a tough loss but for the game itself, I feel like I let the game come to me today and that is what I was asked to do. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.
Aiken was visibly devastated after the loss, a scene that bodes well for Harvard going into next season. Bryce’s aforementioned relationship with Kyrie Irving has produced opportunities to run with the pros in offseason pickup games and continue to learn from one of the game’s brightest minds.
“Man, that dude puts so much pressure on himself,” Irving said to the Boston Globe in 2017. “It reminds me of myself as well. Just thinking that that one shot is going to dictate whether or not you should be happy for the next 14, 16 hours. I’ve been in that position. I’ve had sometimes worse positions where I’ve walked off the floor, game-winner on a last-second shot, and I’ve had some other professional obligations that ended up biting me in the [butt].
Bryce and the Crimson will have little time to dwell. They will travel to Washington D.C. to square off against the Georgetown Hoyas in the first round of the NIT Tournament. Georgetown was an on the bubble team that saw its chances for an NCAA tournament birth dissipate after losing to Seton Hall in the Big East tournament quarterfinals.
Fans will be in for a treat to watch Aiken face off with Georgetown’s talented backcourt. One of them, freshman Mac McClung, had an internet following from his high school days due to his viral dunking mixtapes. Since arriving at Georgetown he has also impressed with his ability to hit the outside shot and possesses a nose scoring similar to Harvard’s sparkplug.
My favorite watch from the Ivy Championship was Bryce Aiken who scored 38 in a losing effort. He's tight with Kyrie (also attended The Patrick School) and has a bag that is reminiscent of Uncle Drew. pic.twitter.com/XhDMgC5Z1P
— Kirk (@jkirk41) March 18, 2019
Next year Bryce Aiken will enter the season as a senior and one of the lead candidates for Ivy League player of the year. Freshman Noah Kirkwood chipped in 19 points for a roster that boasts a ton of young talent. Crimson faithful should be feeling good for next season and will have a motivated, dynamic scorer at the helm for one more campaign.