There were so many growing pains for C.J. Aiken as a freshman at Saint Joseph’s.
And not just on the basketball court.
Aiken, a standout at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High, was only traveling a short distance to 54th and City Ave., but the transition just wasn’t easy for the soft-spoken Aiken.
“He had actually smiled four times in the first four weeks,” St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli quipped of Aiken’s sophomore return. “That’s four more smiles than I’ve seen since he was in the ninth grade. He’s just more comfortable. In his way, he’ll communicate during practice and talk during practice.
He’s more settled off the court. He really seems to be enjoying basketball and it’s not a task he has to do. It’s something he wants to do.”
While the Hawks suffered through an 11-22 season last year, Aiken still managed to set a freshman record for blocked shots (117), which is the second-best, single-season total in Hawks history.
Now much happier, Aiken is off to a sensational start as a sophomore during the Hawks’ 3-1 start.
He’s averaging 10 points, 5.3 rebounds and has 17 blocks, more than four per game.
“It was hard at times for me last season,” Aiken admitted. “I didn’t like losing and we didn’t know how it felt to lose so much. That’s in the past. I expect more now. I think I’m much more comfortable in many areas on and off the court.”