Ellwood back on big stage
Northampton's Aidan Ellwood previously has been on the big stage.
The talented freshman guard has taken the Lehigh Valley basketball scene by storm as one of the area's top scorers as well as helping his club gain respectability in a transformation from a pretender to a contender this winter.
But Ellwood experienced notoriety before as he was a key scorer on his AAU Wire-to-Wire team that went 34-0 when he was in sixth grade.
This winter, he primarily has been running the point for the Konkrete Kids and also regularly has been one of the team's three-top leading scorers.
He also has experienced the full throttle of the Kids' season from the start to the district playoffs that began with a game at Whitehall Wednesday night, which came after Press deadlines for this week.
"We have had our share of ups and downs," said Ellwood. "But one thing that has been consistent has been our team chemistry. That's been a big part of our success. We really all get along well and we're to the point where we know where each other is on the court."
Ellwood recalled his initiation into the Kids' starting lineup that began in a summer league game at Bangor. Since then, he has been a major factor in the equation.
"I was coming off the bench and then I started a game at Bangor," said Ellwood. "I scored 20 points that night and was in the starting lineup since then. It was a big lift for me."
Playing the point also has been a new experience. Before he joined the Kids, Ellwood was used to playing the two guard.
"It has been something new calling out plays and taking charge out there," said Ellwood. "I was really anxious to get out there at our first game against Pleasant Valley. I was nervous and then I started to get really comfortable with everything."
Head coach Coy Stampone also recognized Ellwood's adaptability to the spotlight.
"He was never thought of as a freshman, as far as I was concerned," Stampone said. "When you look at all the AAU ball he played, the summer ball, the team camps, he was pretty seasoned.
"He made a great adjustment at the point and he can also play other spots on the floor. He has great composure as a freshman and quickly developed into one of the top players around."
Ellwood began playing basketball in the second grade, and he acknowledged the constant support of parents, Michael and Barbara, who have helped his career along the way. He began playing in his native Allentown on a team at St. Francis of Assisi Church and his family later moved to Northampton when he was in the fourth grade. His older brother, Ian, is a senior at Allentown Central Catholic.
"I played on my church team and then I started playing on a number of other teams," he said. "I always have been used to playing at another level. My brother used to play basketball and played with (current members) Garrett (Oplinger) and Basem (Azar), and AQ (McNeil)," said Ellwood. "When you think about it, I guess it is kind of weird. But I didn't play with anyone before I came here."
Yet, Ellwood has made a mercurial transition to his new mates. He believed playing Whitehall for the third time in the team's district opener wouldn't be a major obstacle. The Kids beat them in both meetings during the regular season.
Whatever the final outcome, Ellwood looms to be a fixture for the next three years.
"I don't think it mattered that we played them twice before," said Ellwood. "I'm just excited to go out there and play. It has been a good year for me and I'm looking forward to the future."