Although he played just 13 games as a BayHawk after arriving in a late-season trade from the Bakersfield Jam in exchange for Alade Aminu, Blake Ahearn was one of the most entertaining and productive players the team had this season.
The change of scenery obviously came as a blessing for Ahearn, a former D-League all-star. In 17 games with the Jam, he averaged just 14.3 points per game on 36.7 percent shooting from the field and 27.7 percent shooting from 3. In Erie, all of those numbers improved dramatically. As a BayHawk, Ahearn averaged 25.7 points per game, the most of any BayHawk who played at least 10 games. And his shooting percentages were much better: 43.3 percent shooting from the field and 44 percent from 3.
He also upped his assists from 4.1 to 6.7 per game and became a real workhorse, averaging a staggering 45 minutes per game during his time with the BayHawks.
Ahearn really went off during the month of March. Four times he played the full 48 minutes. Four times he hit at least four 3-pointers. On March 15, he set a BayHawks franchise record with 38 points in a win over the Utah Flash. He followed that up with another 38-point effort that included seven made 3s against his former team, the Dakota Wizards, albeit in a losing effort.
More than anything, Ahearn is a shooter. But he's in a class all by himself when it comes to free throw percentage. Ahearn showed why he is the NCAA's all-time free throw percentage leader. He made all but nine of his 176 free throw attempt (94.9 percent) s this season, including an 11-game stretch when he connected on 54 in a row. The league's second-best free throw shooter, Kevin Kruger, finished at 91.4 percent.
Ahearn and Mike Gansey, affectionately dubbed the Rockers by Ridiculous Upside's Scott Shroeder formed one of the most explosive and entertaining backcourts in the D-League when they were healthy as exemplified by their season-best five-game winning streak in early March.
The future of the BayHawks backcourt is one of the most interesting questions heading into next season. They played well at times with Cedric Jackson at the point. They played well with Blake Ahearn at the point. They did not fair particularly well when the two had to share the backcourt. If Jackson, who earned three call-ups this season, lands on an NBA team to start next season, maybe that issue resolves itself. I know Erie would love to have Ahearn and Gansey together for a full season. But there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before that can happen, namely if Ahearn and Gansey both want to return to the D-League for another season. Consider me squarely in the camp rooting against a Barber Shop moment for this duo of Rockers.