Aldridge In Review

 

Peyton Aldridge was instrumental in leading the team to victory in the A10 Championship.

By: Drew Eastland ’21

Staff Writer

The beginning of Peyton Aldridge’s basketball journey played out on the hardwood of LaBrae High School in Leavittsburg, Ohio. Aldridge remains LaBrae’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, and in his four years at Davidson, he has certainly left his mark.

Throughout his college career, Aldridge has found success. This season, he earned numerous post-season awards: Co-Conference Player of the Year and all Atlantic 10 First Team. He led the A-10 in scoring with 21.2 points per game; he also finished fourth in rebounds per game with a 7.6 average. Aldridge currently stands third of all time on Davidson’s scoring list.

Team success has been a hallmark of Aldridge’s career; he values the team achievements much more than any individual accolades. Aldridge described the two NCAA tournament appearances and the A-10 championship as the peak moments of his Davidson career.

Davidson basketball was defined by transition when Aldridge arrived on campus four years ago. The program joined the A-10 Conference Aldridge’s during first year and had success throughout each season of his career.

“Making Davidson a viable team in the [A-10] transitioning from the Southern Conference to the [A-10] and earning two NCAA tournament bids during his time with us as we went through one of the biggest challenges in the history of Davidson college,” Head Coach Bob McKillop said. “I saw in him an attitude of staying committed to excellence and not surrendering at all, not thinking that our dream of being a successful competitive program in the [A-10] was a reality.”

Inspiration resonates from Aldridge’s parents; both coaches, they always inspired his best effort. “They pushed me to be the best I could be,” Aldridge said. “They were always trying to give me little goals and tasks; they were always my motivation.” Furthermore, Aldridge seriously loves LeBron James, who has inspired his play. In fact, Aldridge moved up our interview time fifteen minutes, so he could watch James and the Cavs play.

On the court, Peyton’s versatility is his greatest asset. At 6’8” Peyton has the size to go inside and the length to shoot over taller defenders. He also has the speed to beat defenders off the dribble and run the floor quickly. Off the court, Aldridge strolls to class ready to take on the brutal climate of Davidson academics. Aldridge regards graduating from Davidson with an economics degree as his greatest off-the-court feat. “Being able to attend a prestigious school like Davidson and major in economics has been a challenge,” Aldridge said. “I’m definitely really proud of that.”

As graduation approaches, Aldridge is looking eagerly toward his future in basketball. He has participated in several postseason scouting events, including Portsmouth Invitational which features the top 64 graduating seniors in the country. At Portsmouth, Peyton was able to demonstrate his unique skill set in front of NBA scouts. “I think in the right situation, he might be able to earn a spot on a roster in the NBA,” McKillop said. “It has to be a situation that puts significant value on the many assets and qualities that he has as both an athlete and person.”

“I’m definitely looking to play [in the NBA], I’m looking to go to the Summer League to see what I can do there,” Aldridge remarked. “Ideally, I’d like to stay over here and be successful, but if it falls through then I’m going to go overseas and continue to do what I love.”

Aldridge looks back on the triple overtime loss against St. Bonaventure on February 27th as his favorite game at Davidson. Few players would remember a loss so fondly. “It was a fun game to be in overall; people making shots left and right, battling back and forth, going down and coming back. That battle is why you play the game of basketball – you want those tight close games,” he reflected.

Contagious work ethic improves the individual player and the team around him. Davidson breeds contagious work ethic, and Aldridge brought this value to Davidson. “He made everyone better on this team and they will take bits and pieces of that improvement that he fostered as the leader of this team.” McKillop said. “[His leadership] starts with his work ethic.”

“He has become somebody who will remain as a model of excellence for what the Davidson student athlete represents,” McKillop continued. “The words trust, commitment, and care are embodied upon the fabric of our program; he lived those words.”

“[I’ll miss] just hanging out with the guys…it’s a family; we are all brothers,” Aldridge remarked. “Everyone who leaves Davidson basketball says there is no other basketball like Davidson basketball.”

Comments are closed.