Prep Boys Basketball

Blue Devils' Shoot makes decision to put academics first

Quincy High's Aaron Shoot takes a shot over Moline's Drew Wiemers at Blue Devil Gym on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
Jake Shane 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 13, 2018 12:01 am Updated: Jun. 14, 2018 1:10 am

QUINCY -- As Aaron Shoot weighed his options, the same question kept popping up.

Is he ready to give up basketball?

"My dad asked me that when I was deciding schools," said Shoot, the Quincy High School point guard who was the 2018 Herald-Whig Player of the Year after leading the Blue Devils to their first regional championship since 2009. "I've had coaches ask me that.

"The answer is I don't think I'll ever be ready to give it up. I don't think I'll ever have to give it up."

Basketball will be there in some way or another.

"Still to this day, I'm still watching it," said Shoot, who will represent QHS for a final time Saturday night in the 35th annual McDonald's/Herald-Whig Classic at Pepsi Arena. "I still play it as much as I can. I still enjoy it. It is different not being able to throw on a jersey and go out and play in front of a big crowd and play competitively."

It's a choice he's comfortable making.

Shoot, an honorable mention all-stater, is heading to the University of Kansas to study petroleum engineering. He turned down a number of scholarship offers, including ones from Quincy University and John Wood Community College, to focus on academics and his future.

Those factors influenced his decision more than basketball ever could.

"I'm hoping to finish up in four years, maybe five if I have to," Shoot said of his bachelor's degree. "There's certain tracks you can get done in four and I'm sure I can. The other good thing about KU is they have good outsourcing and resources. Hopefully by my junior or senior year I'll have my foot in the door with a certain company or I'll have a couple of internship offers. I want to get to work as soon as I graduate from college and get started living my life."

Coming to that decision wasn't as simple as it seems.

Shoot picked up his first scholarship offer last summer from Wisconsin-Parkside, an NCAA Division II school that is moving from the Great Lakes Valley Conference to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Other suitors followed with Quincy University making its presence known at every QHS game.

Shoot didn't want to commit to a program unless he could be fully invested in the process. That's why he hesitated to commit early, and it's part of the reason he declined late.

Academics needed to be his priority.

"It's a big adjustment, but I don't think I'll ever give basketball up entirely if that makes sense," Shoot said.

Besides, Shoot knew it would be difficult to find a program that matched up to the tradition and support the Blue Devils enjoy.

"It's a different kind of a truth kids face," Shoot said. "That format and that structure has been so fun to play in. Walking away from that is the hard part."

That's what he leaves behind.

The game stays with him.

"I intend on playing intramurals and doing other things," Shoot said. "I'll always have basketball."

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