Mike Shaw chooses Illini
CHICAGO -- ESPNU Top 100 prospect Mike Shaw, of De La Salle, committed to Illinois at a news conference on Thursday.
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The 6-foot-8 Shaw chose Illinois over DePaul and Marquette. He is ranked 69th overall in the Class of 2011 and the eighth best power forward by ESPN recruiting.
Shaw was an ESPNChicago.com All-Area selection last season. He averaged 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks as a junior for De La Salle.
"Shaw is a combination forward with great size and length," ESPN recruiting coordinator Reggie Rankin said. "I mostly like his ability to score inside and out and rebound in and out of his area. His athletic ability and body control and touch are special. I see Shaw as a power forward to start, but developing into a small forward with time. He is a huge match-up problem. He's a big-time athlete with great upside and versatility."
Shaw's club coach, Illinois Fire's Mike Irvin, believes he can be a better college player than he has been in high school.
"His upside is ridiculous for college," Irvin said. "I think he's got one of the best upsides for college of any high school player. Mike's a 6-8, do-it-all kid. Mike did what he had to to help make De La Salle win games. When he goes to college, he'll put together the whole package. He has a crazy upside."
Like many of Illinois' recent commitments, Shaw was targeted by Illinois coach Bruce Weber when he was a freshman. After losing out early on some of the state's top players, including Sherron Collins and Jon Scheyer, Weber began turning his attention to recruiting players at an early age. Current Illinois freshman Jereme Richmond was one of Weber's first attempts with that philosophy.
While Weber couldn't specifically talk about Shaw during Thursday's Big Ten Media Day, he was able to talk about the Illini's recent recruiting success.
"We've felt good about the progress we've made the last couple years with the sophomore class -- D.J. [Richardson] and Brandon's [Paul] group -- and this one [Jereme Richmond, etc.], and we follow that up with a third pretty good group it looks like," Weber said a few hours before Shaw committed. "We had to make a decision three or four years ago. 'What could we do?' We went after young kids, got them on campus, got them interested, feeling good and taking pride in Illinois, and it's worked.
"We've been very fortunate to keep players in-state. It's our main focus. It was my focus when we got here. It was just we couldn't get them to stay. We've also been fortunate we've had pretty good players two, three, four years coming out of our state."
Shaw is Illinois' fourth Class of 2011 in-state recruit and third ESPNU Top 100 player. St. Ignatius center Nnana Egwu (16th ranked center), Mount Carmel point guard Tracy Abrams (100th overall) and Orr small forward Mycheal Henry (64th overall) are also committed to the Illini.
Illinois did miss out on Rock Island's Chasson Randle, another ESPNU Top 100 prospect, on Wednesday. Randle chose Stanford over Illinois and Purdue.
Illinois has one 2011 scholarship remaining if Weber decides to use it.
Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at email@example.com.