As if Carvers Bay’s game tonight at home against C.E. Murray wasn’t big enough, a Bears pre-game ceremony will add a bit of spice to the evening.
Senior Da’Shaun Aiken will be honored for becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer. Aiken, who enters tonight’s game with 1,145 points, surpassed Class of 2012 player Teondre Bromell, now at Olney Central College in Illinois.
“The thing with Da’Shaun is the simple fact of he has such a tremendous want to excel,” Bears coach Jeff Mezzatesta said. “You could see it when he was little that he had the potential of being a truly gifted athlete.”
Aiken has been starting at Carvers Bay since his freshman year. But the player and coach have been linked since Aiken was in fourth grade and participating in the community camps.
This season, as a senior, he’s helped the Bears to a spot atop Region VII-A. With a win over C.E. Murray tonight, Carvers Bay will win the region and grab an all-important No. 1 seed for the playoffs. The Region VII-A champion is assured of home-court advantage in the playoffs through the Lower State semifinals.
Aiken’s 16.7 points per game from his guard position this season have been instrumental in giving Carvers Bay that opportunity. Mezzatesta is not immune to the fact that some of Aiken’s drive comes from a disappointing end to his high-school football career.
Aiken, the starting quarterback for the Bears last fall, led his team to the No. 1 overall seed in the Class A football playoffs, only to lose in the first round. On top of that, Aiken – who threw for nearly 1,200 yards, ran for another 300 and racked up 28 total touchdowns – was not selected for many individual honors.
“He really wanted to prove to a lot of people how good he really is. He was disappointed that he didn’t make one of the all-star [games],” Mezzatesta said. “But with all the college coaches coming around that see how good he could be, that’s going to give him an opportunity to go where he’s going to go next.”
Aiken has a couple of small-college football offers, and he’s starting to drum up more basketball interest. He’s also a standout in track. Him playing two sports in college isn’t out of the question.
Tonight, though, his basketball prowess will be front and center, both before the game and during.