Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Monday, July 30, 2012 | 2 a.m.
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- Sun coverage of high school basketball
If you’re a college coach and you want to get four-star wing Shaqquan Aaron’s attention, here’s some free advice: Wear something bright.
Aaron is a rising star out of California in the class of 2014. Currently ranked No. 28 overall by Rivals, UNLV, Arizona and UCLA are among those who have expressed interest.
At a tournament like the Fab 48 at Bishop Gorman High, elite coaches often pack the stands shoulder to shoulder like highly paid sardines in polo shirts. That was the scene Friday morning at Aaron’s first game of the day, when his LAX Hoops squad, which also includes Reggie Theus Jr., lost control in the second half and lost 67-47 to the Truth Trojans. Later on Friday, Aaron and LAX bounced back with a 70-56 victory against Game Elite.
Aaron is getting accustomed to playing games in front of high-major coaches — it usually goes better than it did Friday morning — and he’s learned that looking in the stands to see who’s looking at him doesn’t do anybody any good.
“I can’t tell who’s out there because I don’t want to look out there and get distracted,” Aaron said. “Whenever a game’s like that, because that was pretty packed, I just work hard and stay focused.”
Sometimes, though, he can’t help but notice. For example, the electric yellow Baylor rolled out last year has a way of standing out in the crowd. The Rebels’ scarlet has some pop, too, but assistant coach Stacey Augmon was sitting at a safe distance from the court on Friday.
Aaron said his goal during this AAU season has been to work on his defense, a perceived weakness in his game versus his usually stellar offense. The progress is slow, but he said there’s definitely a difference between his game now and back in April. Over the long term, the lanky 6-foot-8 forward will try to pack on some pounds to allow him to be even more versatile inside and out.
The other thing he wanted to work on this summer was having fun out on the court, which can sometimes be difficult for elite recruits, especially in a game like the loss to the Truth Trojans.
Aaron doesn’t physically look like the recruiting trail is wearing him down. But ask him about all of the teams that have contacted him — a number that grows by the day — and you can tell this isn’t his ideal situation.
“I don’t want to say it’s a mess, but everything is hectic right now,” Aaron said. “I’m getting a lot of attention right now. it’s pretty crazy. I’m just trying to enjoy it.”
Away from the court, Aaron is having a good time in Las Vegas. He’s been very active on Twitter (@the_Q21) before and after games and has had a chance to experience the city a little bit.
“I’m not 21 yet, but it’s still fun,” Aaron said. “The lights, the atmosphere; the crowd is crazy at the games, and UNLV fans talk to me a lot on Twitter.”
Those fans are essentially trying to be the icing on the cake that the UNLV coaching staff has made in its efforts to recruit Aaron. There aren’t any clear favorites at this point, but the Rebels got in on the ground floor, and their up-tempo style is certainly a bonus.
“They’ve been recruiting me for quite a while. I have a good relationship will all of their coaches,” Aaron said of UNLV. “What I’m looking for is to play on a team that runs. UNLV runs a lot.”
Like a coach in a highlighter-colored polo, running teams will be impossible for Aaron to ignore. And if it’s in a city where he can have fun, even better.