2006 Profile: Matt Shaw

One team in the Las Vegas Spring Classic that drew a lot of attention was the new California Elite squad. The team had college coaches flocking to the gym, in large part due to a pair of big inside players. James Keefe and Matt Shaw continued to make names for themselves and are early favorites to be top-ranked players in the 2006 class. We spoke with Shaw and found out what the power forward is thinking.

Shaw is in the 6-8/6-9 range and is a legit power forward prospect. He's better as a face-up player, but is not afraid to mix it up inside. He's athletic, but has a frame that should add a lot of muscle.

He can be a strong rebounder, but doesn't always show a consistent effort. He needs to be more active away from the ball, but seems comfortable mixing it up inside. His offensive game is well developed as he has a nice jump shot and can score down low. Although he's from Los Angeles, playing on the Left Coast may not be in the cards.

"Right now for college I'm looking more towards East Coast colleges, Florida State, Duke, UConn," Shaw said. "I'm also looking at USC, UCLA, schools like that. I like Florida schools since I've been out to Florida and I like all the surroundings out there. It has a different feel than California."

We asked him if the ‘schools like that' may include Arizona, since Wildcat coaches were spotted at both of his games.

"Arizona, oh yeah I'm interested in Arizona," Shaw added. "I don't know much about them, but they have a strong program the last several years, the last few decades just about."

Shaw is still getting used to the recruiting game. He realizes he's a high major caliber player, but really hasn't started looking long and hard at individual programs. When asked about what he wants in a school his thoughts turned to academics, not athletics.

"I kind of want to be an architect, so I want to major in architecture," Shaw informed us. "I'll kind of look for a school that has a good architecture program."

His Verbum Dei team is always solid in the ultra-competitive Los Angeles area. They had a great season, finishing as the runner-up in the state tournament, despite having solid big man Amir Johnson transfer to Westchester before the season.

Next year the Eagles could be even better, despite the fact that they lose talented senior guard Mike Pagan..

"We're going to be real good next year," Shaw said. "We only lost three people. We'll have seven seniors next year."

Shaw is aware of his high recruiting status, but knows he needs to improve on at least one aspect of his game. He feels there is really one major improvement that will really make him a great player "My weakness is defense, it's the only thing I need to work on," Shaw confessed. "I think I'll be a complete player once I work on defense."

It could be a long time before there is decision out of the Shaw camp. Only a sophomore he has plenty of time to find the right fit. To make things even more open, he really doesn't even have a childhood favorite school to use as a starting point. He's a fan of the game of basketball, not one particular team.

"Of course I watched the championship between Georgia Tech and UConn," Shaw said. "If I'm watching hoops at home I'll just watch whoever is on, it doesn't matter."

CAT TRACKS' ANALYSIS: The Cats have a little bit of ground to make up, but it is very, very early. Shaw has big time potential and could wind up as one of the best bigs on the West Coast. His interest in the state of Florida is very interesting, but one has to wonder if when it is all said and done if he'll want to travel that far for school. Expect the Cats to stay on him as well as players like Alex Stephenson and James Keefe, among others, in the '06 Class.

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