North Allegheny junior guard Aiken follows in father’s footsteps

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by Malik Vincent
For New Pittsburgh Courier

From 1983-87, Curtis Aiken was a star guard on the Pitt men’s basketball team. He was named to the University’s All-Centennial second team. The former McDonald’s All-American was the first-ever that the Panthers signed in their over 100-year history.

Now it’s time for his daughter to shine.

AlexisAiken
MAKING HER MARK—Junior guard Alexis Aiken of North Allegheny goes to the hoop against Oakland Catholic. Aiken, the daughter of former Pitt star Curtis Aiken scored 11 points in the Lady Tigers 62-45 loss to Oakland Catholic, Jan. 10. (Photo by William McBride)

Alexis Aiken is currently the second leading scorer for the North Allegheny Girls basketball team, averaging 11 points a game and has added a solid 5.7 rebounds per game.

“She is one of the nicest kids we have,” North Allegheny coach Sherri McConnell said. “The scoring is something that we like but, as a coach, I appreciate how she works hard and plays solid defense.”

The 5-foot-7 junior has garnered the interest of nearly a dozen Division I programs. Her father said that he did everything he could to give her the opportunity to play “whatever sport that she desired.” She chose basketball—a decision that he is “very excited about.” But will she follow his footsteps in going to the University that deemed him a legend?

“I’m a Pitt guy,” Curtis said, who scored a 21st-best 1,200 points for the Panthers. “I’m still very close to the coaching staffs on both the men and women’s sides. I’d be able to better say if it were closer to decision time. But would I like it if she went there, absolutely.”

Alexis has a bit of a contrasting opinion.

“I’m not sure if I want to be so close,” she said. “I’ve had a couple of conversations with Pitt, but I just want to focus on what is ahead of me in my junior season. I’d also, ideally, like to go some place where I am guaranteed some steady playing time, if not a starting role.”

North Allegheny’s only losses came in their section 3-AAAA conference to Shaler on 1/4 and, most recently, to Oakland Catholic six days later on Jan. 10. Aiken scored 11 points and pulled down nine boards.

“The nine rebounds were obviously huge,” McConnell said. “I was real impressed with how she played in that game. She played really hard. I was real pleased with the effort.”

When asked how she feels about carrying on her father’s legacy, she acknowledges that it “motivates her to work harder to achieve her goals.”

Her father took no hesitation to point out the fact that his daughter excels in the classroom. As a local business owner, Curtis Aiken serves as the president, CEO, and founder of ProTech Compliance, Inc.—a company that specializes in vendor access opportunities in healthcare, banking, and other financial institutions. He graduated with a degree from Pitt in communications=.

“I am happy and pleased, in terms of her academics,” he said. “She’s got a 3.9 GPA. Her performance in the classroom is something that has got me real excited.”

Some of the schools that have shown interest in Alexis are Akron, St. Francis, Central Connecticut, Toledo, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), and Northeastern.

(Malik Vincent can be reached at malikvincent@gmail.com.)

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