Updated: Mar 18
Standing 6’8” with a plus-wingspan, Aidan Shaw fits a highly sought-after role in college basketball. He has the ability to guard multiple positions, has timing as a shot blocker and can play passing lanes quite well. Shaw also has developing ball skills, impressive vertical athleticism and can nail the corner 3. While he is still working on his handle and shooting package, he has shown really positive progression in his development.
Playing for Blue Valley High School (KS) and representing MOKAN Elite (MO) on the EYBL circuit, Shaw has offers from Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State, among others. While he does have family ties to one of the schools in his recruitment, he is still wide open and communicating with other interested institutions. He has been trending up the rankings in the high school class of 2022 for a while and it seems that by EYBL play, he will continue his ascent.
Shaw will provide versatility that fits a need at just about every high major program, with a goal of playing professionally. Shaw also has a tight family bond, emphasizes relationships with his coaches, teammates and friends, with a major appetite for education in general.
This interview delves into Aidan Shaw’s background, his most memorable basketball achievements, his interest in a particular genre of fiction writing, his likely college majors, what he is working on to prepare for college basketball, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 prospect Aidan Shaw, from Overland Park, Kansas:
Pro Insight: How did you get to where you are today?
Aidan Shaw: Alright, so I started playing basketball around kindergarten or pre-school, I’ve been playing it for as long as I can remember. So coming up I would just play for fun, then middle school came around and I realized this is what I want to do when I get older. Basketball is something that I wanted to take and make my life and that’s what it is now. So I’m where I’m at today because of all of the work I’ve put in and my goal in the future is to get to the league and have my impact on the game. Over time I built my drive and worked real hard and now I’m here.
PI: Any athletes in your family?
AS: Yeah, so I have three siblings: one little brother, one little sister, and an older sister. My older sister is in college. She is a senior at Drury University — it’s a D-2 college in Springfield, Missouri, and they’re doing pretty good. She’s been pretty good at basketball for a long time. Then I have my younger sister, she’s in 8th grade and she’s good. She’s got some offers for basketball — she’s like 6’1”, she’s got a jump shot and can handle the ball. Then I’ve got my little brother who is in 6th grade and we’re still developing him and he’s about 5’10” or 5’11”, so he’s getting up there. He’s still developing, but like I said, he’s in 6th grade so he’s still got time behind him and I can help him come up and be a better basketball player. My mom also played basketball in high school for Ruskin High School in Kansas City, Missouri and from what I’ve heard she was pretty good...I haven’t gotten to see her play. And my dad, he played football in high school.
PI: You’re listed at 6’8” — where does your height come from?
AS: So my mom is 5’10” to 5’11” and my dad is around 6’3” or 6’4”. I like to say I get it from my mom’s side because her dad is around 6’4” and her brother is 6’6”. My dad also has family on his side that are taller, on his side it kind of fluctuates and on my mom’s side it’s all there. I mean I’m not really sure honestly, but I like to say I get it from my mom’s side.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
AS: I played baseball and football growing up. I stopped playing baseball my 8th grade year and stayed with basketball and football. I stopped playing football my freshman year, I said I was going to play football this year (junior season), but basketball started picking up and I didn’t want to get injured so I haven’t played football since freshman year.
PI: What positions did you play?
AS: I played QB and WR, but mostly played QB. I was pretty good, I could throw the ball a little bit, I could run and get out of the pocket and get some yardage.
PI: Were you picking up any early college interest in football?
AS: Well freshman year I was playing on the freshman team. Over at my school that’s how they make it, you can move up to varsity if you’re good enough, but freshman play freshman and that’s how it goes. I didn’t really get any recruitment, I don’t think I played well enough yet.
PI: How would you describe the basketball culture in Kansas?
AS: I’d have to say for younger kids coming up, so not college, Kansas isn’t really expected to be all that good, but my team growing up 5-8th grade, we were pretty good. We won the junior NBA World Championship in 8th grade. So I think for younger kids it’s not really expected to be all that, but we work hard down here so I think we’re underrated. College-wise, I think we’re pretty good.
PI: In your opinion, what makes the game of basketball so great?
AS: What makes basketball so great to me is it’s kind of a de-stressor, it’s something that I can play and get my mind off of other things like school and all that and I can just focus on basketball. Then once I’m done with practice or one of my games I can focus on the things I’m dealing with off the court or workout. Basketball helps me de-stress and get my mind off of things which is why I love playing the game so much.
PI: Talk about your favorite all-time memory on the basketball court.
AS: I’d probably have to see getting my first dunk in game or maybe the first time I dunked ever. I believe it was the beginning of 8th grade is when I got my first dunk in game and end of 7th grade is when I first dunked.
PI: For those that aren’t super familiar with your game — what are your greatest strengths?
AS: My biggest strengths as a player I would like to say are my defensive abilities. I know I can guard anybody that I play against and I’m proud to be able to do that. There’s not many people 6’8” tall and mobile like that who can guard the guards and the bigs. So that’s my pride and joy right there, the defensive side. I’m also good on the offensive side, as well. I’d say my strength is driving on the inside and finishing high with the ball where defenders can’t block it. I have a good jumper too, so don’t sleep [laughs].
PI: Talk about how your shot is developing.
AS: I’ve really been working on it the past two years and it’s getting there, so yeah I believe in my shot. I like to do set shots first when I get shots up then I build out to off the dribble, like one dribble pull-ups, then I do two dribbles so like one dribble behind the back and pull-up. For 3’s I like to do set shots, then I’ll do some step-backs or some one dribble to the side or something.
PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most?
AS: I need to gain a little bit more weight, get a little bit stronger so I’m able to get to the rim more easily against stronger opponents because once I get to EYBL circuits there will be players my size or bigger and I need to be able to get to the rim against people of higher caliber.
PI: You have a gym downstairs — do your parents train you?
AS: I have a trainer actually who sends me workouts through an app and I can do some workouts online. I really started doing their workouts online when COVID happened and we weren’t really able to get out much. So I would do that [workout routine] downstairs and then I also do workouts my football coach sends me that he uses for the team as well. So I do those, but every once in a while I’ll just go do a workout or run on the treadmill or something.
PI: What are some underrated parts of your game you feel you don’t get enough credit for?
AS: I’d have to say a lot of people underestimate my shot, and like I said, I’ve been working on that for a pretty long time now. So I’ve been able to get my 3-point shot going in games and when people see that I can shoot they’ll play up on me which allows me to drive. So I think they [defenders] underestimate my shot — I think that’s underrated.
PI: Why do you love to play defense?
AS: I mean I really like blocking shots or getting steals because I know it leads to offense and if you’re doing good on defense you’ll be able to score on the offensive side. I believe I have the ability to score on the offensive side, so if the opponent doesn’t score any points then I think I can win any game. So that’s what I enjoy about playing defense.
PI: How would you describe yourself as a defender?
AS: My ability to get low and stay in front of the person with the ball. I think I’m more explosive than the opponent when they’re driving to the rack. I can get up and block shots. I believe I’m just the best defender overall.
PI: Who has been the toughest individual matchup you’ve ever faced?
AS: Probably at Pangos All-American Camp, I played against a lot of good players there. I mean everybody there was high caliber, playing in college. So I’d have to say everybody I played against at Pangos, it was really fun to play against them.
PI: Did anyone in particular stand out at that event?
AS: On my team I had Paolo Banchero, he was pretty good, I liked him as a teammate. Really high energy dude and he knew how to get to the rack. So I picked up a few things from him and had some conversations with him. So that’s one of the guys.
PI: Do you model your game after anyone in particular?
AS: I like to say I model my game after multiple players — well not to model — I like to make my own variations. I like to watch Kevin Durant, Terrance Ferguson, Paul George, etc. Kind of like taller guards that can still handle the ball and all that.
PI: How do you see your role or position at the next level?
AS: I believe I can be used in a lot of ways at the next level, I don’t really have a set position, but I would say shooting guard. I’m able to shoot and drive, but my defensive side is really my main thing.
PI: What are your short term goals you have for yourself as a player and as a person?
AS: Right now I’m trying to get to and win state with my school team. When summer rolls around I’m going to be playing with MOKAN during EYBL and we’re going to win the Peach Jam, so that’s going to be fun. Those are my main short term goals right now, and like I said I’d like to gain a little bit more weight so I’m going to be hitting the gym a lot in between.
PI: How about long term?
AS: So in the next couple years I’ll be in college, I want to leave my mark in college, but at the same time I want to play in the league. I’m going to commit to a college, try to develop my game as much as possible, and get drafted into the league and try to make my impact there.
PI: Talk about MOKAN Elite — what has your experience been like with them?
AS: I like to say they really prepare you for the next level — their practices are very intense and we practice a lot over a small span of days so we get a lot in. A lot of coaching and conditioning. Also the mental part of it, the coaches really teach you little things about the game, like how to set a screen right, come off cuts, you got to rub off the screen, bump your defender, bump cutters, little things like that. They preach grades and social media stuff, so they really prepare you for pretty much everything.
PI: How do you manage pressure or expectations?
AS: I like to keep a level head. My mom helps me stay focused on my game and become a better player. I try to keep in mind my ultimate goal which is to play in the league and I know if I’m to get there, there’s certain things that you have to do and I just have to stay focused and not get distracted. That’s how I see it.
PI: What are some things you bring to a team off the court?
AS: I like to say I’m a good teammate. I stay in contact with all my teammates, I make sure I build relationships with them. I’ll praise my teammates on their success. I’m not a hateful player, I like seeing people that are close to me succeed and I expect the same back. Team chemistry all plays a part in that.
PI: What’s the latest with your recruitment?
AS: I’ve been talking with and keeping relationships with my offers as well as a couple other schools. So the latest, I’m just ready for COVID to be over so I can go on some visits. I know I’m going to have to commit in the next year and I’d like to commit before my senior year. So that’s how things are going with my recruitment.
PI: Who have you been hearing from the most lately?
AS: I stay in contact with most of my offers weekly, I text and have phone calls with most of my offers weekly. I stay in contact with all my offers, plus a couple other schools. I like to build relationships with all my schools and that’s really the extent of it.
PI: Did you have a dream school growing up?
AS: I haven’t really had a dream school honestly. My parents went to Mizzou, but I haven’t really had a favorite or a dream school. I just kind of watched basketball growing up and I like watching the game.
PI: What are you looking for in your school of choice?
AS: I look for player development and somewhere where I can really build relationships with my coaches and teammates because further down the line connections are everything. Those are the main things really.
PI: What kind of system best fits your strengths as a player?
AS: I like to play fast and get up and down so probably more run and gun. I like transition basketball and quickly switching from defense to offense and scoring quickly. Getting back on defense and getting stops, all that.
PI: How would you define the word ‘success?’
AS: It depends on how you look at it and what you apply it to really. To be successful I know you have to be hardworking and persevere through adversity. You can be successful at achieving your dreams or getting a 100% on a test, both of those things come from working hard, preparing, studying, and just getting better at what you’re doing.
PI: What do you personally feel you’ll need to accomplish in your career in order for you to become satisfied?
AS: I’m going to have to say playing at 120% at all my games, being able to have a really good looking stat line, and kind of be known for someone that is the same on and off the court. I think those would be some pretty big things to look back at after the ball stops bouncing and I could say that I did that.
PI: What would you say is the smartest purchase you’ve ever made?
AS: I mean me personally, I haven’t bought anything too big. My mom and I started talking about stocks this year, she’s been investing, but I have my opinion on what to invest in. It’s nice seeing money flip and make money off of that, so I would say that’s one of the smarter things I’ve had my influence over spending money on.
PI: Do you have a favorite book?
AS: I’d have to say I’m more of a Sci-fi guy — the last book I read was called Steelheart. It’s a little Sci-fi Utopia book. The rest of the books I read are from my school and those are fun to read, as well.
PI: What did you like about that book? What stood out?
AS: Like I said, I’m kind of a Sci-fi guy so I like the journey of seeing the character develop and see his views change on antagonists. It was fun reading the book overall, it had a lot of action and developing plot.
PI: What Sci-fi movies are you into?
AS: So I’ve watched most of the Star Wars, I think there was one of the older movies that I haven’t seen, but I watch a lot of Star Wars. I watch a lot of movies that involve space and stuff like that. It’s fun to me seeing fantasy, I mean it’d be nice to see if it was real, like space exploration and all that stuff.
PI: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
AS: Probably hearing someone chew with their mouth open is definitely up there. I don’t like it, it doesn’t sound all that pleasing to me. I believe anyone can chew with their mouth closed, it’s just kind of obnoxious so that’s one of the main ones. Also probably going really slow in the fast lane on the highway, that’s annoying as well. Those are the big ones for me.
PI: Who would you say has been the biggest influence on your life up to this point?
AS: Probably my family, they keep me in line and level-headed. They make sure I stay humble and they really keep me focused, so that’s the main influence on me.
PI: Would you say you rely more on your natural talent and ability or on your work ethic?
AS: I’d have to say a mix of both. I know that natural talent can only get you so far, so your work ethic and drive will really get you to where you want to go. That’s what I believe.
PI: Who’s someone you really look up to?
AS: I have a trainer, his name is Marcus Walker, he’s a very good guy, he played here in the Kansas City area. I look up to him because his basketball career was cut short because he had a heart problem, but I really like how he turned around and gave back to the people in Kansas City. He trains people in this area and really pushes them to become better players and better people overall. So yeah, Marcus Walker is one of them.
PI: Talk about a time or story in your life that you feel has really shaped who you are today.
AS: Probably winning the Junior NBA my 8th grade year with my club team. That really opened my eyes. I got to play with players from all over the world and that opened my eyes to see what the game can do for you if you really apply yourself to it and stay strong and believe in what you’re doing. I’d have to say that really opened my eyes.
PI: Did you ever expect to be receiving this much attention?
AS: I mean well now I’m used to it, but growing up I knew it had to happen if I was to reach my goals. I knew it had to happen, but I didn’t really expect it to happen. I knew my work ethic and drive would have to get me there. So when my first offer rolled around I was so happy, well I was in disbelief at first because I was like, “ok this is one of the steps to get there,” so I mean it was just nice seeing that happen and being in the moment.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
AS: One of my coaches told me “don’t be complacent,” so the definition of complacent is the ability to return to a shape or form. So what he meant by that is “be better than you were the day before,” so when you go to practice you want to be better when you end practice than when you started practice...you don’t want to go back. So that’s something that’s been there in the back of my mind for a while.
PI: If you woke up tomorrow to see a fortune in your bank account, what would be your first purchase?
AS: So after I give money to my family and my mom, the first thing I would say is buying a house, but I wouldn’t say that’s necessary right now. I would say buying a house for my parents, but I think we’re pretty good right now where we're at. I’d probably get a nice car for my mom, I know she really likes the Cadillac Escalade, so I’d probably get her the newest one and surprise her with that. That’d be nice.
PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?
AS: So right now I’m trying to decide between architecture and business. I really like architecture and trying to design houses. With business, I need to know how to deal with money and stuff. I think that’d be handy. Also with stocks and stuff, I’d like to get more into that. So between those three things mainly is what I’m trying to decide between in the future.
PI: Are you planning on majoring in one of architecture or business in college?
AS: Yeah so I’d probably either major in business or architecture and minor in whatever I don’t choose to be my major.
PI: Have you done any architecture designs?
AS: There’s actually a class at my school called Drafting and we had to design a house last year. It was pretty fun actually, to be able to see the final product on my computer and to be able to look around and all that. It’s really nice to see the final product and all the work you put in.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
AS: Hardworking. Intelligent. Handsome. Athletic.
PI: If someone were to write a book or a movie about your life, what would be the title?
AS: Something probably along the lines of, “The Crazy Life of Aidan Shaw” because there’s a lot of stuff that goes on in my life. It’d be a funny book, I don’t know, the ups and downs, something along the lines of that. I think the star in it would be my mom, she’s pretty funny. She plays a big part in my life, so does my dad, but my mom likes to put her word in a lot of things...it’d be funny [laughs].
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
AS: I definitely want to be remembered for my work ethic and everything I did to get to whatever the highest point is. I’d like to be seen and looked up to by the younger generations, to come around and be a role model for them. That would be nice.
Watch the full interview with Aidan, here