Shaqquan Aaron (right) waits for an inside pass during a Rainier Beach practice. Photo by Walker Orenstein
Shaqquan Aaron walks towards his teammates after a drill. Photo by Walker Orenstein
A senior slide is not an option for Shaqquan Aaron, even after all he’s accomplished as a high school basketball player.
He’s already the best player on the best team in the state of Washington and headed to Louisville next year to play for the legendary Rick Pitino.
But there hasn't been a let down for Aaron. His team is 10-0, ranked third in the D1 Circuit Power 10, and the 6-foot-6 player is averaging 22 points a game on a team stacked with scoring ability. He plays with a fierce competitive streak reminiscent of former Rainier Beach stars Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson, and has talent on the perimeter, driving, and in the post.
D1 Circuit caught up with Aaron after Rainier Beach won the Les Schwab Tournament in Portland.
Question: How much do you pay attention to Louisville right now?
Answer: A lot, I’ve been watching – they’ve lost a couple games so far but you know that’s what happened last year, they got it together and ended up winning a national championship. I always follow them.
Q: What’s the relationship like with Louisville, how much contact do you have?
A: I talk to coach [Pitino], and all the assistants all the time like, twice a week. They text me, I text them, they check on me and how I did in games, I check on them. Sometimes I give them input on what I felt about the [Louisville] game like ‘What was wrong with this thing today?’ Things like that.
Q: Do they have suggestions for you?
A: Of course, they talk to my high school coaches. They tell me ‘try working on this next game, or that’ or they want me to have 15 rebounds next time if I had ten and things like that. They tell things all the time.
Q: What’s daily life like right now? Is it hard to stay focused on high school stuff and being a kid while all this is going on?
A: It’s not hard you know, being a kid. That’s like gone now, you know, it’s serious now I’m about to head to college, it’s my senior year so I’m always getting ready to play at the next level and the next level after that. It’s all business now.
Q: What aspects of your game are you working on the most right now?
A: Everything. I just want to make everything -- finesse, I want to be the greatest shooter or the greatest defender all that stuff. So I’m trying to make everything I do better. Better and better.
Q: Tell me about the state of Seattle basketball. When you went down to Portland [for the Les Schwab Tournament] were you there to represent Seattle basketball too?
A: Yeah, everybody when we were out they were rooting for us to win but when we’re back here they don’t want us to win. Everybody’s against us because we’ve always won state titles. Really, everybody plays their best game against us so it’s about how we come out to play.
Q: A lot of your teammates are going through the recruiting process right now which you’ve already been through, is it relaxing for you to be committed and take some pressure off of trying to put up big numbers every game?
A: I wouldn’t say relaxing because I still have goals. Trying to win a national title, one, get better, two. Maybe play in the McDonalds game, all that stuff. It’s not really a time to relax. That’s like saying ‘what if LeBron won two championships now is he gonna relax?’ No, he wants that third one, he wants six just like Jordan. It’s not really about relaxing.
Q: Who’s your favorite opponent to play?
A: I would say Jamal [Crawford], because he’s the hardest guard to ever guard. When he goes at me and crosses me up I’m trying to cross him up.
Q: Jamal Crawford, really?
A: Yeah, we play against each other all the time one-on-one, all summer. We did one-on-one, five-on-five, but when we play one-on-one, he tries to cross me up and I try to cross him up too. [Laughs] No one knows about it but I always cross him up.
Shaqquan Aaron loads up for a three-pointer during practice. Photo by Walker Orenstein
School: Rainier Beach, WA
Weight: 175 pounds
Position: Small forward
Credentials: Aaron is a four-star recruit considered to be the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2014 in Washington according to ESPN and No. 31 in the ESPN top 100 recruits. He's got potential in every aspect of his game from shooting to driving. He also fills the stat sheet, routinely picking up a handful of assist, rebounds and blocks in each game.
College committment: Aaron signed with Louisville in February of 2013.
Shaqquan Aaron takes a jump shot during practice. Photo by Walker Orenstein
Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram?
Twitter. @Q_NASTY21 (Instagram too).
Dream vacation spot?
I guess the Bahamas. I’ve never been there but everybody loves it.
I’d have to go with Drake, he’s killing the game. I’m trying to be the Drake of basketball.
Tag(s): Circuit Board