News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

January 16, 2014

PREP PROFILE: Aimone working to round out his game

TERRE HAUTE — On a high school basketball team composed almost entirely of seniors last year, then-sophomore Charlie Aimone  of Terre Haute North earned a little playing team as a catch-and-shoot deep threat.

This season, as a junior and the most experienced player on a virtually new Patriot roster, Aimone knew he had to do more, and so far he has.

Just think what he might have done if he’d been able to play in the offseason.

The 6-foot-6 Aimone is one of North’s leading scorers so far, which was expected. The pleasant surprise is that the 165-pounder is also one of his team’s rebound leaders and is also demonstrating some ball handling skills and quickness.

“We stressed the importance of him not being one-dimensional,” coach Todd Woelfle said this week, “and that’s one of the things he’s really worked on.”

“I worked on my ball handling,” Aimone said. “I still have to get stronger, and I still have to improve my shooting even more, get a quicker release. I also have to improve my defense.”

The junior forward also grew several inches since last season. The additional height didn’t have a negative impact on his skills — “Obviously I’m still really thin, but I think I was lucky in terms of coordination,” Aimone said — but it may have come with another price. He battled injuries that caused him to miss the entire summer season and quite a bit of the Patriots’ preseason work, and he was questionable to play at all when the Patriots had their season opener at Lebanon.

“He stayed positive and he was around the team all summer and in preseason [even while injured],” Woelfle pointed out. “He never missed a game [during the summer] even though he didn’t play a minute. He was a good teammate, always encouraging the others … and that says a lot about his character.

“When he gets back to full strength, he will gain more confidence,” Woelfle predicted, “and he is going to blossom as a player. He can put the ball on the floor, and as soon as he adds some strength he has a chance to be really good.”

The rebounding, on a team that lacks size, has been huge, the coach added.

“He’s rebounding the ball very well,” Woelfle said. “The coaching staff challenged him to be a complete player, and he’s pursuing the basketball much better.”

Even though his team lacked varsity experience, Aimone felt good about where the Patriots could be as he approached the season.

“I was feeling pretty confident,” he said. “I’ve known my team a long, long time … we’re learning right now, but as soon as we get there we’ll be OK.”

His own role changed drastically too.

“I had to become more of a vocal leader, although I still rely on my teammates for their leadership too,” Aimone said. “I had to step up my game, and that helped me improve my [number of] minutes [on the court].”

Being one of his team’s go-to scorers is an adjustment too, both player and coach said.

“He’s going from being the fifth guy out there to the No. 1 guy, the one the other team is trying to stop,” Woelfle noted.

“There’s a little bit of pressure [in that role],” Aimone added, “but [the Patriots] all know each other really well, and we try to take the pressure off each other. We’ve had a lot of other guys step up and lead us in scoring so far.”

Missing the summer season also was a big problem for Aimone’s recruitment for the next level of play, Woelfle noted. An excellent student, he’s drawing some interest from Ivy League schools and could be a major sleeper during his senior campaign. Woelfle likens him to Loyola’s Matt O’Leary in some ways.

When asked about personal goals, however, Aimone mentioned strictly team plans.

“One goal was helping the team reach the Pizza Hut Classic final game [where the Patriots lost to Terre Haute South], and hopefully we can win a sectional. If we keep doing what coach Woelfle says, there’s no reason we can’t get there.

“Winning is more important than individual honors.”

 

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