DeLaSalle's Mike Shaw Top Prospect

The sophomore class of basketball prospects in the state of Illinois is bubbling over with talent. There is tremendous athleticism and talent throughout the state. Perhaps the best one of all is Mike Shaw of Chicago DeLaSalle Institute. ranks him as a five star athlete, and calls him the 8th best player in the country for his class.

DeLaSalle high school coach Tom White, speaking for his school's website, was glowing in his praise of his young star.

"Given the combination of Michael's work ethic and talents on the basketball court, he truly has a limitless future."

Mike Shaw is a 6'-8", 200 pound wing in a post player's body. His high school needs him to play the post, and he's working hard to be effective there. But he wants to be a complete player.

"I'm working on banging in the post, but I see myself playing a wing in college. I'm also working on bringing the ball up the court."

Mike prefers to speak about his team rather than himself.

"Everybody is playing well. We all want to win. All the players that came off the sophomore team went undefeated the whole year, so we all want to play hard and get better. Everybody is excited.

"We have Dre Henley, Derek Needham, Richie Fisher, Rob Robinson. Everybody is just playing hard."

Needham is the senior leader, and he will play for Fairfield next year. Fisher had 19 points in the win over Loyola Friday evening. And Andre "Dre" Henley, a 6'-5" wing, is listed as one of the top 50 players in the class of 2011 by Van Coleman of Needless to say, DeLaSalle expects to win a lot of games.

"We won the Tournament of Champions in Peoria over Thanksgiving," Shaw stated. "We beat Richland, Texas, Cahokia and Tampa (Sickles), Florida by big margins."

The scores were 88-67 over Richland, 80-43 over Cahokia, and 67-45 over Tampa Sickles. Shaw had 12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals, 2 blocks and 2 assists against Cahokia, and 11 points and 3 blocks against Richland while playing a team game.

Illinois coaches Bruce Weber, Wayne McClain and Jerrance Howard were front and center for Shaw's game against Loyola Friday evening. He is at the top of their list of prospective recruits for his class. Mike filled the stat sheet for them with 15 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks and 4 assists. DeLaSalle came back Saturday night to whip Gordon Tech 76-54.

Shaw has also excelled on the national stage with his Mac Irwin Fire AAU team. That team is loaded with top Chicago area talent and may dominate next spring and summer on the AAU circuit.

"We have Wayne Blackshear (Curie), Tracy Abrams (Mt. Carmel), Dre Henley, Sam Thompson (Whitney Young), lots of people. On the other level we have me, Crandall Head (Illini commitment, Crane Tech), and Jereme Richmond (Illini commitment, Waukegan) may play with us. Philip Jackson (Providence St. Mel) may be playing with us. And maybe Lenzelle Smith (Zion-Benton)."

Mike Shaw and a number of his AAU teammates made the trip to Champaign for the Homecoming game and the World's Biggest Basketball Practice. They played pickup games at the Ubben basketball complex afterward. He said he liked the environment.

"It was fun. Every time we play, just like our high school team, we're doing it for Chicago. We're trying to show everybody we just want to play. Me and Derek Needham have played together all summer and all last season.

Indeed, there seems to be a special repore among these talented athletes that goes beyond basketball. They call and text each other, and they get together for practice and games whenever possible.

"Yeah, we have fun. All the Chicago and Illinois basketball players get along. Everybody's just cool. Everybody has earned respect."

Some have wondered how great it would be to have a number of these top ballers matriculate to the same college upon graduation from high school.

"I guess that would be cool, if that would happen. Yeah, it would (make a fantastic college team)."

As one would expect, Mike Shaw will be the center of a major recruiting struggle as colleges all over the country are after him.

"I've been getting calls and offers from everybody. All the major D-1 schools have been coming to see me. All of them. Right now, I'm just gonna wait to make my decision."

Time is on his side as his potential is unlimited.

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