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What kind of player is Cuonzo Martin getting in Aidan Shaw?

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Aidan Shaw’s commitment provides Mizzou with a top-end talent it’s long coveted in Columbia.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: JUN 08 Pangos All-American Camp Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With Aidan Shaw now in the fold, there’s a natural temptation to label the wing as a plug-and-play prospect for Missouri.

That’s not entirely wrong, but in Shaws’ case, the definition requires some amending.

Last season, Shaw, the No. 53 prospect in 247Sports’ composite, averaged 19.7 points and 7.7 rebounds for Blue Valley, powering the Tigers’ offense. When you look at his shot selection, almost 45 percent of his attempts were from behind the 3-point arc, and he connected at a 35.6 percent clip — the kind of profile you might see from a player who could serve as a 3-and-D specialist.

But once Shaw ventured out on the grassroots circuit, his role flipped.

Suiting up for MoKan Elite, Shaw moved off the ball, ceding lead guard duties to Skyy Clark, a five-star prospect in 2023 and a Kentucky commit. (Later on, Clark suffered a knee injury and was replaced by Bryson Warren, another top-30 recruit in the ‘23 class.) Inside, MoKan was stocked with a pair of top-50 big men: Tarris Reed and Felix Okpara.

Over two weeks and 12 games at Peach Jam, Shaw averaged 7.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in 19.8 minutes per game. His usage settled at 18.4 percent — in line with a role player — and sliced his 3-point attempt rate in half. Within MoKan’s offense, he operated off the ball as a cutter or occasional floor spacer. More often than not, Shaw’s best source of touches came when he sprinted wide in the channels on the break.

Despite those factors, Shaw still posted 1.098 points per possession, essentially the average efficiency for shots attempted around the rim. That only makes sense, given that Shaw’s 2-point shooting with MoKan (59.1%) was the same as what he posted with Blue Valley (60.0%) during the prep season.

Aidan Shaw | Role Reversal

Category High School Peach Jam
Category High School Peach Jam
Games 22 12
POSS/GM 16.3 6.5
PTS 19.6 7.1
REB 7.7 4.3
AST 1.7 1
FGA 14.6 6.5
2FG% 59.1 60
3FG% 35.6 8.3
FT% 76.1 66.7
BLK 3.2 0.8
STL 0.8 0.9
TO 2.8 1.8
eFG% 56.5 52.6
TS% 59.7 53.4
FTR 27.3 7.8
3FGR 45.3 15.6
TO% 14.7 21.7
ATO 0.6 0.6
PPP 1.203 1.098

Facing off against other elite prospects at the Pangos All-American Festival in late August, Shaw displayed a functional handle and the ability to shoot after flaring or popping. But again, he thrived when playing on the break or exploiting a broken floor. You don’t see copious instances where Shaw’s creating for himself and breaking down defenses off of the bounce.

It’s what makes projecting his offensive role so intriguing. At worst, Shaw’s shown he can efficiently produce without being a focal point, and his ability to play on the break will be essential if MU’s looking to play at a faster clip. The chief question, though, is to what degree his shooting translates. If it does, he can exploit defenses by darting into gaps or spacing on the wing.

Where his impact might be felt the most is at the defensive end. That’s a bit of wrinkle. Often, freshmen find the learning curve on defense is steep—the athletic advantage they once gets leveled out. The complexity of schemes grows. However, Shaw might confound that conventional wisdom.

When the competition ramps up, Shaw’s shown the ability to shift seamlessly between playing as a wing in conventional rotations and as a four when the lineups shrink. On the ball, he’s dogged and has a quick first step in his slide, and can flip his hips pretty quickly. At Peach Jam, he might draw a point guard one day, a wing the next, and then play as a four while Felix Okpara replaces Tarris Reed in the post.

You can’t find the game now, but Shaw put on a clinic guarding Emoni Bates — have you heard of him? — in the first half of their matchup. Bates’ length and ability to create space for jumpers can cause havoc, but Shaw more than held his own closing it down. And when he had to recover after a switch, he was rarely caught out. It wasn’t until a third foul sent Shaw to the bench early in the third quarter that Bates got rolling.

The sample size from Peach Jam is admittedly modest — only 12 games — but Shaw’s metrics suggest he’s an active wing on the glass (11.8 DR%), can wreak havoc in passing lanes (2.4 STL%), and offers another layer of protection (4.2 BLK%) in the paint. At Pangos, Shaw showed off how he affects the game as an off-ball and help defender. Count how many blocks he tallied up after rotating over. The ability to affect the game in multiple ways is also a pride point:

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.

Throughout his tenure, Martin’s struggled to land a hybrid player in Shaw’s mold. Tray Jackson had the physical profile and offensive tools, but his struggles defensively and with conditioning paved the way for a transfer. Against certain opponents, Kobe Brown looks like a viable threat, but the wait for his jumper to come online remains. Sean Durugordon tilts more toward the wing, while Trevon Brazile’s profiles more as a post.

Now, MU has a player who legitimately blurs positional lines — and the kind of upper-tier talent needed to truly make a dent in the SEC.