2005 Focus: Mario Chalmers

Mario Chalmers is the best player to come out of Alaska since Carlos Boozer and the junior point guard is getting plenty of attention. One school has stepped up its recruitment of the 6-2 floor leader.

It's no coincidence that the AAU team Mario Chalmers played for throughout most of his life was called the Alaska Tar Heels. However, both the Bartlett High (Alaska) junior point guard and his father will attempt to look at things objectively despite their fondness for the North Carolina program. ``I'm not living my dream through my son," Ron said. "This is totally about him and my job is just to help guide him."

Mario is a 6-2, 175-pound Bartlett High (Alaska) junior floor leader who will take his first official visit this weekend to Arizona. In addition to the Wildcats, Chalmers also lists UNC, Marquette, Wake Forest, Kansas and UCLA among his top six. The Tar Heels are the lone school yet to offer out of that group.

The old Matt Doherty regime showed Chalmers plenty of love, but Roy Williams and his staff really hadn't done much more than send the token letter until recently.

``We want to keep our options open and we'd like to visit Carolina, the elder Chalmers added. "But we want to make sure wherever he goes, it's the right fit for him. We have to assess the situation and see where Mario fits in at each school."

Chalmers, who is hoping to make a college decision by November, has two more games before the playoffs begin. The team is 16-3 with all three of his losses coming against non-Alaska teams.

Chalmers averaged 10 points his freshman year and 15 his sophomore campaign, but he has begun to look for his scoring a lot more this season and it's translated into 28 points per contest.

Chalmers and his father will be the first ones to admit that the level of competition isn't really up to par. In fact, the family has been contemplating a move to North Carolina – where Chalmers still has plenty of family – for more than a year.

``I'd like to move so I can play against better competition," Mario said. "But we haven't made a decision on that yet."

Regardless of whether Chalmers leaves Alaska for his senior season, he'll play with the Pump ‘N Run team this summer, which will be coached by his father. The first chance to get a look at Chalmers will be at the Kingwood Classic in Houston in late April.

``I've always liked North Carolina since I was little," Mario said. "But as far as front-runners goes, I really don't have one right now."

CAT TRACKS' ANALYSIS: Chalmers is the number one guard recruit, so the Cats probably don't want to hear that Carolina is in there. The Cats would love to add him to their backcourt of 2005.

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