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Shaw fills an immediate need for Pack

Darrell Moody
Nevada Appeal Sports Writer

RENO ” Joey Shaw readily admits that he got caught up in all the hype of being recruited.

Then a 6-foot-6 stringbean from Arizona, Shaw took a recruiting trip to Nevada, and would have been considered a prime catch for the Wolf Pack four years ago.

Ultimately, the University of Indiana and coach Mike Davis won the recruiting war for Shaw’s services. The shooting guard/small forward found out that life isn’t always better at a more prestigious school.

“It was tough for me,” Nevada coach Mark Fox said. “I thought we had him. I remember he called me after he got back (from Reno). Then he decided to take one more trip to Indiana. I still remember taking that call when he decided on Indiana.”

Shaw played about 10 minutes a game for the Hoosiers as a true freshman, averaging 4.7 points, 1.2 assists and shooting 43 percent from the field. However, Davis left Indiana, and the Hoosiers hired Kelvin Sampson, who didn’t have a spot for Shaw.

Shaw bolted Indiana for Southern Idaho College, and was on the Pack’s radar screen again.

Shaw averaged 16 points (43.4 from the floor and 36 percent on 3-pointers) and 4.7 rebounds a game for SIC, and signed a letter of intent last spring with the Wolf Pack.

“They were in the top three (the first time),” Shaw said at Nevada’s Media Day. “I could see I wasn’t going to play (for Sampson). It wasn’t a good situation.

“I knew pretty much once I went to Southern Idaho that I would come here. I’m so much more comfortable here. I saw them on TV last year when they played North Carolina. I saw them play more when (Nick) Fazekas was here.”

Part of that comfort zone is because he likes the Nevada coaching staff, and part of it is because he is related to Lyndale Burleson, whose brother, Nate, is married to Shaw’s sister.

“Coach Fox lets you play your game as long as you play defense,” Shaw said.

Shaw’s game in high school was the jump shot. That was because at 165 pounds, he lacked the body strength to challenge the big guys around the basket. Now, 40 pounds heavier, he admits to being more of a slashing, penetrating wing player.

“I just want to help the team by putting the ball in the basket,” Shaw said. “I can shoot the ball from pretty deep. Lately been working on trying to get to the basket and the free-throw line. I like getting to the foul line a little more. I like to shoot the ball.”

“I would expect Joey to shoot the ball really well,” Fox said. “He should be able to stretch defenses.”

Fox likes the “new” Shaw, and likes the attitude the JC transfer brings to the program.

“He’s a lot stronger,” Fox said. “He’s gained 35 or 40 pounds since then. He’s fine (weight-wise) where he’s at.

“Playing in the Big Ten I would think, the experience at the Big Ten level is a level of experience you’re not going to get from a guy transferring in. He’s had a lot of experience and he has a businesslike approach which helps us.”

Fox is know for bringing in freshmen. When he brings in a JC transfer, he is usually trying to fill a need now instead of a year from now.

Shaw will be counted on heavily to replace Marcelus Kemp, the Pack’s leading scorer a year ago. It’s much like the situation a few years ago when Nevada brought in Mo Charlo to replace Kirk Snyder.

On a team without a big man, Nevada may be a team that strikes from the outside more often than not, and Shaw, Brandon Fields, newcomer Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson have the ability to do that.

“I’m not worried that we don’t have any big (center type), big men,” Shaw said. “A lot of the good teams in the country didn’t have dominant big men. We just have to make adjustments.”

THE SHAW FILE

Position – Forward

Height/weight – 6-6/200

Year in school – Junior

Schools attended – Indiana University, Southern Idaho College