Guruspeak: What's the Latest on Shaun Livingston

These days it seems like everyone has an opinion on just where the nation's top point guard, Shaun Livingston, will be heading to school. Some say it's down to a two team race on Tobacco Road. Some think he'll opt to stay home and play for the Illini. Others believe he'll spend his next few years in the desert with Lute Olsen. While many think he's a lock to end up in the NBA. TDD polls a number of leading analysts to get their thoughts in the first edition of "Guruspeak".

Rather than filter through the many ‘insiders' patrolling fan boards for Duke, Illinois, North Carolina, and Arizona, TDD has asked for opinions on Livingston's recruitment from a panel of experts including Dave Telep (TheInsiders.com), Rob Matera (Hoopmasters.com), Rob Harrington (Prepstars.com), Eric Bossi (Phog.net – TI Midwest analyst), and Clint Jackson (TDD, Inside Carolina, StateFans).

Dave Telep:

"I've thought for the longest time that Shaun Livingston's recruitment would go full term, meaning he'll take all of his visits. There's no reason not to. When you're the best point guard in the country, you 1) fear no one 2) have your pick of schools and 3) have earned the right to operate off your own timetable.

I think Shaun continues to analyze each school and wants to make an informed decision. I think Arizona has the toughest road of the four schools because of the presence of Mustafa Shakur who just arrived last year. He'd be a luxury recruit for them. I think talking about a leader with a guy who has stated that he wants to take all of his visits is putting a cart before the horse."

Rob Matera:

"I think that the Livingston recruiting battle in the end will turn into a dog fight between Duke and North Carolina. I believe Illinois is not as strong as they once were, but I'd watch out for Arizona as a dark horse. My gut feeling says that he picks North Carolina, though Bob Gibbons (whose opinion I respect greatly) insists that Duke has the inside track.

Shaun is without a doubt the best guard prospect in high school basketball this year. I liken him to a cross between Penny Hardaway and Jason Kidd. He has Hardaway's size and wispy quickness, and Kidd's court vision and savvy. You'd have to go back pretty far to find a point guard with his size/skill/athleticism combination."

Rob Harrington:

"Livingston represents that ideal breed of player who takes a studious approach to his recruitment, rather than only an emotional one. For that reason, I think you can expect him to do as he says -- take his visits, weigh factors, then make a decision without stringing anyone along.

In my opinion, Livingston is the No. 1 prospect in the senior class -- ahead of even Dwight Howard. The point guard position is the most important in the college game, and Livingston presents a more awkward match-up for opponents than any other player in high school basketball. I'd like to see him clean his three-point stroke a little, but already he shoots a respectable percentage, and he's positively lethal from mid-range."

Eric Bossi:

"Shaun Livingston? Everybody knows that he is going to Southern Illinois right?

Seriously though, this is one of the tougher recruiting races to call in quite some time. I know it gets kind of old to hear that over and over again, but Shaun is really playing this well. What makes it even tougher, is that each of his potential choices seems to make sense. You can't argue with a point guard who wants to go to Arizona, Duke just keeps on reloading, Roy Williams is turning UNC into well UNC again and of course Illinois is close to home and he has lots of friends there.

In the end, I always have to give the edge to the home school in a situation like this and while he might not end up at Illinois, I just feel the proximity, pressure for him to go and all of his friends there are too much to discount. This is without even mentioning the monster that is "The League"."

Clint Jackson:

"No one person knows for sure where Livingston is going to end up, except perhaps Shaun, himself.

I think the visits are going to be the determining factor. He had a great visit to Chapel Hill and you could feel his passion for that visit when he spoke of it. I think Duke has a real good shot though -- sources around him think that the Blue Devils may have the best shot. But, maybe it's just me, but I think the NBA is a bigger factor than most folks.

Personally, I think it's Duke, Carolina or the NBA when it's all said and done. But that's just my opinion."

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