RICHMOND — Along a basketball journey which has seen him become one of most prodigious stat-line stuffers in the recent history of B.C. high school basketball, Fardaws Aimaq has grown to a half-inch shy of 6-foot-11.
Yet the biggest growth spurt that the 2017 grad of Richmond’s Steveston-London Secondary has undergone has happened in the days since he donned cap and gown in June as part of the Sharks’ graduating senior class.
For Aimaq, who on Wednesday announced he would spend next season on the U.S. east coast, prepping at Maine’s Bridgton Academy, the entire process of recruiting which led to his 11th hour announcement has been one big (and helpful) eye opener.
“I went into it thinking that this process was going to be all fun and games but I learned about the business behind it all,” said Aimaq, who this past season averaged 27.5 points, 17.8 rebounds, 5.8 blocks and 2.5 assists per game with SLSS, then spent the AAU season playing throughout the U.S. with AthElite.
“As a 17-year-old kid, I took it personally at first,” he continued of trying to determine his worth to a collegiate contingent of six NCAA Div, 1 schools, three D2 schools, 12 junior colleges and one from the NAIA, all of whom expressed interest. “But then I realized from talking to Stoney (SLSS head coach Mike Stoneburgh) that these coaches have their jobs on the line, so you can’t take anything they do personally. At that point, I took a step back and I went at it from a business point-of-view from my side. When I did that, things started to roll.”
The rough translation: In Bridgton, the versatile Aimaq is joining one of the top schools in one of the elite prep school leagues (New England Preparatory Schools Athletic Council or NEPSAC) in the U.S.
And as Stoneburgh relates, a large body of schools, including Pepperdine and Washington State, will be following his progress closely as a player who has always been able to score down low but over the past few seasons has added so many other elements to his game, from a three-point shot to keen passing. Fellow Div. 1 schools Radford and Mercer are already expecting to bring him in for visits next season.
It’s made 2017-18 one huge audition.
“I’m just ready to get the job done,” Aimaq says. “I will miss my family and everyone else back home, but the way I look at it, I have to do what I need to do over the year and then hopefully move on, figure out which Div. 1 school I want to go to.”
It won’t be easy, and Aimaq knows that. Yet he’s also aware of the upside that comes from competing against the best.
“That (NEPSAC) league is completely different from anything that I will see,” he begins. “A lot of the teams have two or three potential NBA-type guys and so if you show well against them, anything can happen.”
That last sentiment is something Aimaq is both taking with him, and leaving as his legacy at his old high school.
“As for his impact, he’s driven basketball at our school,” said Stoneburgh. “His impact has been amazing. We had a Grade 8 club team, a Grade 9 club team. Basketball is bigger here than ever and guys have seen that if they work hard, that they can get there, too. They are starting to think ‘Maybe I can become Fardaws.’”
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