Aidan Shaw intrigued by Iowa basketball's free-flowing offense, potential early playing time
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. — Aidan Shaw has a penchant for jaw-dropping plays.
The 6-foot-8 wing from the Kansas City metro area has made plenty en route to becoming a top-60 national prospect. He continued to drop jaws at last weekend's Midwest Live! Summer Showcase in Council Bluffs with MOKAN Elite's 17U squad.
One play, in particular, stood out.
It was MOKAN Elite's first game on Saturday, against Minnesota Comets Elite. Shaw received a pass at the top of the key. He took two steps forward then launched off two feet, evaded the block and sunk a lay-up. It looked easy. Like half-speed practice. But that's because Shaw made it look that way.
Because here's the thing: It is not at all easy to start from beyond the arc, take two steps and wind up right under the basket for an easy deuce.
The play served as a reminder that Shaw, who is is all of 6-foot-8, is an athletic rarity who, if the Hawkeyes can land him, would be a game-changing force in Iowa City.
"With him being his size and then his athleticism, what type of player are you going to put on him?" said Rodney Perry, MOKAN Elite's 17U coach. "If you don't have a player that's just like him to be able to guard him, then it's going to be a mismatch."
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Iowa basketball recruiting target Aidan Shaw focusing on eight schools
Shaw is focusing on a group of eight schools at the moment. He took five June official visits to Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Maryland. He's also planning an August official visit to Arkansas, and USC and Creighton are recruiting him, too. He'll look to make a decision sometime after the Arkansas visit.
The Hawkeyes were able to secure an official visit because Shaw felt the coaching staff showed legitimate interest in him, he said.
"When a coach shows interest in you, that's a good thing," Shaw said.
Iowa is trying to sell Shaw on its free-flowing offense, where his combination of length, speed, athleticism, shooting and basketball smarts could be utilized in any number of ways on any given night.
Head coach Fran McCaffery and assistant coach Sherman Dillard reviewed film with Shaw and his family during his late-June official visit. McCaffery specifically pointed out ways Shaw would fit into his wide-open schemes.
"Their playing style is kind of like trusting their players to make decisions on the court," Shaw said. "And so he really preached that to me. So he pulled up film and was like, 'You could be this player taking this shot, or this could be you on the break.'
"The way they play, it's really just a four-out, one-in. Anybody can dribble the ball up the court. ... (I like) how he trusts the players and stuff like that. I'm going to be able to do my own thing and get playing time early."
Shaw: 'I've been staying in contact with (Iowa basketball) the whole time'
Iowa has shown interest in Shaw for a long time. McCaffery extended Shaw his sixth offer back in October 2019, shortly after Missouri and Oklahoma State — two schools that, along with Kansas, are seen as strong contenders in this recruitment.
From there, Dillard mostly took over, as he is Iowa's primary recruiter for the Kansas City area. Shaw said he has developed a strong relationship with Dillard.
"They were one of the first ones," Shaw said of the Hawkeyes. "I've been staying in contact with them the whole time."
Perry said the Hawkeyes' early offer can only help them with Shaw.
"I think it still means quite a bit to some of the kids because of the fact that they saw potential in the player before anybody else did," Perry said. "So, obviously, when that happens, that says a lot in and of itself. Especially when players have a close-knit family, too, like he does. That actually means a lot when you have a close-knit family that your family's going to be involved in your decision-making. Because, then, they actually understand, 'Hey, these guys saw something in you before anybody else actually did.' So that actually means a lot."
Shaw began his official visit to Iowa on June 22. That night, he said, he, his dad and Iowa coaches had dinner at Vue Rooftop, which sits atop the Hilton Garden Inn and has 360-degree views of Iowa City. Later in the visit, Shaw's player host, Keegan Murray, took him on a tour of the city.
"I went to the practice, watched them play," Shaw said of the rest of his visit. "I sat next to the coach and kind of picked apart what they were doing. We went over a lot of stuff.
"It was great. It was a really nice family environment. You could see the players had great chemistry. Even the freshmen that had just come in, they had only been there a couple weeks, but you could tell there's a great environment."
Shaw and MOKAN Elite now head to North Augusta, South Carolina, where they'll play the Nike EYBL regular season and the Peach Jam during July's final two live periods (July 16-18, 23-25). Then, Shaw's decision could come as soon as August.
Matthew Bain is the deputy sports editor for the Des Moines Register. He still covers some recruiting, too. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.