Don’t look now, but Tommy Amaker may be putting together something truly special in Massachusetts.
Amaker, the head mens basketball coach at Harvard, just landed his third four-star basketball recruit of the Class of 2016 with the pledge of Bryce Aiken. The point guard from the Patrick School in New Jersey chose the Crimson over scholarship offers from the likes of Miami and Seton Hall, among others.
“Harvard presents a unique opportunity with a tremendous balance of both academics and basketball. Not too many people get the chance to say they go to Harvard,” Aiken told NJ.com of his commitment. “I just wanted to be different from the rest of the typical basketball players. I felt like this is the best situation for me.”
It’s not so shocking that Amaker would land a 4-star recruit in Cambridge. He’s done that before with the likes of Minnesota native Siyani Chambers. Landing three such recruits in the same class? That’s a very new world for the Harvard basketball program, albeit one that Amaker has surely awaited since arriving in Cambridge. He’s reached that peak thanks to a unique selling pitch that combines tradition, a suddenly perennial tournament berth and the nation’s most respected academics, all of which combine to deliver outstanding earning power after graduation.
It was a combination that Aiken decided he could not turn down, following in the footsteps of fellow four-star recruits, forwards Chris Lewis and Robert Baker Jr.
“It was an entire coaching staff effort. It wasn’t just one coach recruiting me, not just the assistants,” Aiken told NJ.com. “They were on me through the entire way. And coach Amaker just did a tremendous job of explaining how he would use me in his system, and how he believed in me and trusted me to be the next great one from Harvard.
“I had a meeting with my family. We just sat there and talked about all the pros and cons of each situation. We felt that Harvard would be the best situation for me.”