C.J. Aiken working on consistency

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Garrett Miley (@GWMiley)

C.J. Aiken's shot-blocking abilities got him the 2012-13 Defensive Player of the year. (Photo: Mark Jordan)

C.J. Aiken’s shot-blocking abilities got him the 2012-13 CoBL Defensive Player of the year. (Photo: Mark Jordan)

As he continues to work on improving his game for the next level, former Saint Joseph’s forward C.J. Aiken is working on one key aspect.

“I can be more consistent,” Aiken said.

On Hawk Hill, Aiken was known for his defensive prowess, but he was often criticized for his shot selection and frequent perimeter play.

“I think I was less consistent at St. Joe’s but when I was working out there during practice I found out that I can be more consistent,” he told CoBL at the Delco Pro-Am last week. “I’m working on dribbling and shooting, different things like that.”

While the college game allows for lineup and positional flexibility, the NBA game forces many players to find their defined role on the floor. Aiken’s height (6-foot-9) and wingspan (7-1), may suggest that he’s best suited for a post position. However, his athleticism and improved perimeter shooting are allowing NBA teams to look at him in other positions.

“Some the ‘three’ and some ‘four’, just like the in between game,” Aiken said about where franchises see him fitting in. “I need to work more on one position so that’s what they want to see.”

Back on March 22, Aiken left Saint Joseph’s after his junior season and immediately began to pursue his professional dreams and work on improving his game. His decision, however, came as a surprise to many who were unsure of his readiness to play at the next level.

Saint Joseph’s finished 18-14 overall last season, and went just 8-8 in the Atlantic 10 after being name the preseason favorites to win the league. Most of Aiken’s numbers dipped from his sophomore season, and he dealt with a nagging wrist injury down the final stretch of the season.

Aiken dropped from 10.9 ppg in 2011-12 to 10.4 ppg during his junior season, and averaged 2.6 blocks per contest compared to the 3.5 bpg he averaged as a sophomore, but he still decided that it was time for him to pursue professional opportunities.

After C.J. Aiken left Saint Joseph’s at the end of the Hawks disappointing season, the 6-9 shot swatter flew under the radar as the NBA draft approached.

“I just worked out in Vegas from the end of March until the beginning of June,” Aiken told CoBL. “I just started working out for teams and things like that.”

After the Plymouth Whitemarsh product went undrafted, the Sacramento Kings added him to their Las Vegas Summer League roster.

The Conshohocken native’s debut with Sacramento was impressive, as he went 5-5 from the floor and finished with 13 points for the Kings against the Dallas Mavericks. He averaged 4.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, and just under a block per game for the Kings for the duration of the league.

“It was a good experience and I learned a lot of stuff,” he said. “Stuff that I never knew defensively and things like that. It was a good experience.”

Now that the Las Vegas and Orlando Summer Leagues have concluded, Aiken has decided to remain with the Kings for the short term.

“They called my agent last week and said that they would like to sign me up until mini-camp and things like that,” he said. “We’ll see where it goes from there.”

He will rejoin the Kings in Sacramento, CA. on September 1.

“I think it’s going to be a good experience no matter what happens,” he said. “Just trying to have fun and learn things.”

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