Four-star point guard Bryce Aiken intrigued by Michigan’s offense

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan needs a point guard in the class of 2016 and the Wolverines stumbled upon quite a few new prospects during the two weekends of live evaluation play in April. One of those new names to pop up on the radar is Bryce Aiken.

Aiken is a small point guard, standing 5-foot-10, who can fill up the score sheet in a hurry.

“If they let me shoot I’m going to shoot it. I can definitely shoot and I can dribble the ball,” he said when asked to explain his game after a win at the Nike EYBL in Lexington. “But I like to control the pace of the game and make the game easier for others around me and that’s the way I like to play.”

Aiken has seen increased interest this spring with his steady play in the Nike EYBL. He’s averaging 15 points per game in EYBL play, shooting 51% on twos despite his small stature and 41% on threes while handing out three assists per game. In front of John Beilein during a Saturday morning game, Aiken’s ability to get to the free throw line was what really shined. He attempted 10 free throws in a narrow win over Houston Hoops and has a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 59% this spring.

“Just becoming more of a leader and understanding the game more,” Aiken responded when asked how he’s improved his game. “Increasing my IQ and that allows me to recognize how the defense is playing me and pick my spots.”

A number of schools have shown interest in Aiken this spring, but he listed six as the schools recruiting him the hardest.

“The schools that are recruiting me the hardest are Stanford, Illinois, Miami, Seton Hall, Michigan and Harvard.”

Michigan’s interest sprouted after LaVall Jordan saw the point guard play during the first evaluation weekend.

“I actually talked to (Michigan)’s coach after the first EYBL session. Coach Vall from Michigan,” Aiken said. “He said he wants to stay in touch and keep interest in me. He’s going to be watching me and wants to build a relationship with me.”

While the interest in Michigan is still new, it’s a school that Aiken is interested in hearing more from.

“They play on TV a lot, I know that much,” he said. “I haven’t gone out so I don’t know too much about the school itself, but I know Coach B is the head coach there and after you see Trey Burke and how they develop their guards, they definitely let their guards go and it’s an offense that I could see myself in.”

He mentioned plans were already in the works to visit Illinois in May, but he also wants to trip to Michigan.

“Most definitely,” he said. “I would love to get out there and see how it is.”

With a fast-rising recruitment, Aiken still hopes to have his recruitment wrapped up before the early signing period this fall.

“To commit to a school, I’m thinking probably late August or early September.”

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  • countourzealous

    Seems to have great vision on the court. His size kind of worries me, but there’s a good chance he may grow a couple inches before he would hit campus. Looks like he could be a stingy defender and good on the fast break too.l

  • bobohle

    Prefer we go for the taller pg targets (J. Murray,B. Brown,D. Smith Jr.) IMO.

  • David Remmler

    It’s good to hear that we’re casting a wide net for PG’s in 2016 since this is our biggest need. Aiken doesn’t seem as good a prospect as our other PG targets (Winston, Goodin, Brown, etc.) but our last under recruited 6’0″ PG panned out pretty well! That being said, I still hope our recruiting finally improves and we land one of our higher ranked targets (at least ranked in the top 60 or so). It would be nice to win a recruiting battle for once and sign a top guard early on rather than trying to scramble for a late recruit.

  • UMTigersWingsLions

    I think he would be a better choice than Brown. He is a true PG. We need a guy who can distribute the ball well. Pass first attitude.

  • frank

    I think JB went for the cream (Jaylen) pushed Kenny to the side and ended up with a draft pick. No problem. It was time for JB to reach for the stars. We’ll be fine.

  • Chris De Sana

    Not as concerned about his size as some others may be as long as he can defend the position? If his upside is anything like Trey Burke or Yogi Farrell we could do worse………

    • psickert1

      I agree.

  • UMTigersWingsLions

    “If we build it, they will come.” We can get the great recruits like UK, Duke, and Kansas. But, it looks like we have to do it the hard way…win first. Thank goodness for coach B who can do this, with under the radar players.

  • Wayman Britt

    I know some posters are going to disagree with this, but if you want UM to get back to the Final Four, Beilein needs to finally add at least one All American/certain NBAer. A top 15 player. UM will have a nice roster the next few years, but needs to add a player that can take over a game all by themself. A stud. It is extremely rare to get to the Final Four without at least two future NBAers’ on the roster. We have LeVert, but will need more in the future.

    Let’s hope UM can get one in the 2016 class.

    • bobohle

      I agree with you Wayman. Landing the first seems to be the toughest. I really thought we were going to get Jaylen Brown. Then Cal gets two top tens at once. One day we will get ours. We need to wrap one up early in the game. Battle is coming in soon for another visit. That would be a good place to begin.