From the outset of this recruiting cycle, Aidan Shaw fit the profile of a Cuonzo Martin recruit: long, rangy, athletic, defensive-minded, and low-key.
On Friday, though, the 6-foot-8 wing made enough noise by committing to Missouri, delivering a top-60 talent to fill a position of need in the Tigers’ slimmed-down recruiting class. With his decision, the Blue Valley High product becomes the fourth-highest rated recruit to pick MU during Martin’s tenure and joins East St. Louis point guard Christian Jones in the fold.
We’ll address what Shaw brings to the floor in a moment. Yet, it’s impossible to ignore the off-court implications of his choice.
Over the past three years, MU’s come up empty in securing pledges from top targets such as E.J. Liddell, Caleb Love, and, most recently, Tamar Bates. Like Shaw, they hailed from fertile recruiting territory less than two hours away. Sealing off Kansas City and St. Louis is impossible. However, you have to look back to Torrence Watson, who was No. 112 in 247Sports’ composite in 2018, to find the Tigers prevailing for an upper-tier prospect. No, MU won’t win every battle, especially if some bluebloods enter the mix, but the program needed a win.
This time, Martin and MU closed.
For anyone keeping close tabs on Shaw’s recruitment, you could see it trending the Tigers’ way. Iowa and Maryland hosted Shaw for official visits, but neither truly gained traction. A visit to Arkansas was scotched after it ultimately conflicted with an NCAA dead period, and the Razorbacks never rescheduled. As for Oklahoma State, the Cowboys were a dark horse, the first high-major to offer Shaw and host him on an official visit in June. Ultimately, though, coach Mike Boynton landed Quion Williams, a fast-rising wing prospect out of Texas.
This race for Shaw’s services boiled to MU and longtime rival Kansas. Significantly, the Jayhawks’ recruiting board was always crowded. Coach Bill Self already has a pair of top-30 wings in MJ Rice and Gradey Dick lined up. Meanwhile, KU pursued other prospects — Chris Livingston and Jordan Walsh — aside from Shaw. Those with some knowledge of KU’s thought process have even asserted that the program moved on.
Ultimately, though, MU’s long-term relationship with Shaw endured.
Beyond optics and perception, Shaw, who averaged 19.7 points and 7.7 rebounds last season, fits the blueprint of where Martin wants to take the Tigers’ roster and possesses the upside to provide what the NBA covets at his position. Put bluntly, Missouri’s roster needed more top-end talent, the kind who won’t stick around long if they’re appropriately developed.
On paper, the Tigers have also filled two scholarships in this class. Whether they’re done is still open for interpretation. For now, the Tigers are scheduled to host five-star wing Mark Mitchell on Mizzou’s homecoming weekend for his second official visit. And a couple of weeks ago, Robert Jennings, a three-star combo forward, took a trip to Columbia.
Let’s Meet Aidan Shaw
- From: Overland Park, Kan.
- High School: Blue Valley
- Position: Combo Forward
- Ht/Wt: 6-8/190
- Rivals Ranking: 57
- 247Composite Ranking: 0.9876/No.53
- Total announced offers: 21
- Offers to note: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Oklahoma State
What they’re saying
Yes ‼️— Cuonzo Martin (@CuonzoMartin) September 17, 2021
18 years ago I had my 2nd child Aidan. Let me tell you he has been nothing but a blessing! I love all my kiddos and I’m always smiling. Happy birthday son love you always! @Aidan_Shaw24 pic.twitter.com/wXTJ8zkB7b— Ivy Shaw (@IvyShaw23) September 17, 2021
Tiger Nation is supporting Aidan!! Go Tigers!! pic.twitter.com/TlCWr5kYBX— Blue Valley High School (@bvhs_tigers) September 17, 2021
Four-star forward Aidan Shaw just announced his commitment to #Mizzou basketball.@Aidan_Shaw24 is ranked as the No. 53 overall player in the ’22 class & No. 3 out of Kansas, according to the 24/7 Sports Composite. He is the highest ranked recruit to join the program since ’17.— Lila Bromberg (@lilabbromberg) September 17, 2021