Shaun Livingston Begins His Official Visits

Though he was heading to North Carolina for the first of four official visits on Friday morning at 9 AM, 6-foot-7 Illinois point guard Shaun Livingston still has much on his mind. For starters he's not even sure if he'll take four official visits. <I>TheDevilsDen</I> spoke with Shaun's father on the eve of his son's 9 AM departure to Chapel Hill to get a run down of the current recruiting situation.

With the younger Livingston getting ready to leave on his Tar Heel visit on Friday morning, Shaun's father Reggie was manning the phones on Thursday evening.

"Actually I had just been on the phone with Coach Williams before you called," said Livingston. "He and I were just talking through a lot of things about Shaun's visit and how they see him fitting in there."

In addition to securing the final logistics for the visit, the elder Livingston said he and Williams were addressing some concerns about the Tar Heels including the current scholarship situation in Chapel Hill. "He told me that if Shaun wants to come, they have room for him. Maybe someone will leave early, maybe someone won't make the grades, but he told me if Shaun wants to come they will have room."

When Shaun departs Peoria on Friday morning he will be doing so alone as Reggie will not be attending this official visit with his son. "I'm not going on this one with him," said Livingston, "and I don't think I'll go with him to the Arizona visit. I can go to Illinois because it's close, and I will definitely go to Duke with him later this month."

While Duke, Illinois, Arizona, and North Carolina are reportedly the four finalists for his son's services, the elder Livingston says he's advised his son to look into a possible fifth visit.

"This is a decision he's got to live with for the rest of his life," said Livingston. "He can take five official visits, and he needs to really get as much information as possible before he decides where he wants to go to school. I know we've thought about a visit to Kansas because he's known Coach Self for years now, but that's up to Shaun to decide."

Much has been made of Livingston's friendship to various members of the class of 2004 in recent weeks, and speculation has run rampant surrounding the impact of those friendships on his decision. However, Reggie says that Shaun will make his decision based on himself alone.

"Shaun knows a lot of guys from this summer," said Reggie. "He hung out with JR Smith at ABCD this summer and JR's going to North Carolina. However he also knows Demarcus [Nelson] really well and they talked a lot throughout the summer, and he knows Sean Dockery pretty well also. At Illinois he's got Brian Randle and Richard McBride who he played with growing up the last few years, so he's got friends wherever he goes."

Once Livingston returns from North Carolina on Sunday afternoon, he will begin preparing for his next official visit to Duke on September 19th. He will then visit Arizona for Midnight Madness on October 17th and Illinois on October 25th before making his decision on or around November 1st according to his father.



On Coach K: "Shaun loves Coach K, and thinks he's the best coach in the country right now."

On Roy Williams: "Shaun thinks Coach Williams is a great coach and likes the way he does things, especially their style of play."

On the possibility of playing at Duke: "They are on National TV every time they play. You can't get that kind of exposure anywhere else. We think they are going to be pretty good this year, but if Shaun goes there he'll make them that much better. I think he would thrive in their offense."

On playing in the ACC: "It's a great conference where basketball comes first."

On early entry to the NBA: "We've talked about it, and I would be very proud of him if he earned a degree before he went to the league. The NBA may not work out for Shaun for whatever reason and if that happened, he'd have something to fall back on. I can see him going to college for three years to get a degree, that program is something we both like."

On playing with other players: "He's not worried about anyone else's decision."

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