Rising Junior: Shaun Livingston

Shaun Livingston is 6-6 and silky smooth with a basketball in his hands. Most players his size would use the skills he possesses to put the ball on the floor and take it to the hoop at every opportunity. But Livingston is a pure point guard in a wing player's body.

"I play the one, two and the three for my high school team," Livingston said. "I can play any (position). I just want to do what I can to help this team win, that's all,"

Livington's team, Ft. Sooy-No, had just dropped it's first game of the tournament, a disappointing lose to Mater Dei, and Livingston was feeling the pain of the defeat. He's not accustomed to losing – at any venue. And it was quite apparent Livingston plays to win. He HATES losing.

"This is my first time here (at the Big Time Tournament). Its a fun thing if you win but if you don't it isn't fun," Livingston said. We came out and we weren't ready to play. They played more like a team and that's why they won. We have play better."

Most players use the summer AAU tournaments to fine tune their game and work on the little things that will make them a better player. But Livingston plays for only one reason, to win.

"I'm not trying to compare my game to anyone else or work on my game," Livingston said "I just came here to win."

Livingston is already a winner, he just hasn't realized it yet.

On the court, Livingston has a maturity and presence far beyond his youthful appearance. He's confident, poised and never seems to lose his cool. He also has great work ethic and strives to improve his game.

"I'm a gym rat," Livingston said. "I'm in the gym all the time working on my game. That's what you got to do to become the best. You got to put in the effort to be the best."

Livingston has plenty of time to improve and get better. He'll be a junior at Peoria (Central), Ill. this fall. By the end of the summer AAU camps he should be one the top-rated point guards in the Class of 2004. He already has the interest of some big time schools and many others will jumping on the Shaun Livingston Band Wagon between now and next summer.

Rumor was that Livingston could be yet another player who might make an early commitment and Illinois was the school mentioned. That seems unlikely since the Illini have Deron Williams and Dee Brown, two of the nation's top-rated point guards from the Class of 2002 joining the team this fall. They recently received a verbal commitment from Richard McBride, a 6-3 combo-guard from Springfield (Lamphier), Ill, who will join the team in 2003.

"No, I'm not going to make an early commitment," Livingston said. "I'm interest in Illinois, but I also like Arizona, North Carolina, Duke and Florida."

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E-mail Doug Carr at cattraxdc@aol.com

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