Livingston : "They Know Where They Stand"

After weeks of speculation followed by a number of big developments on Tuesday, Illinois point guard Shaun Livingston finally broke his media silence and spoke with <I>TheDevilsDen.com</I>. The nation's top playmaker touched on his recruiting situation, his NBA aspirations, and the recent developments on Tobacco Road.

"I talked with Coach Williams tonight before you called," Livingston told TDD. "He explained their situation to me and I understood, but they are now eliminated, and I am down to three schools."

Those three remaining finalists include Duke, Arizona, and Illinois, though the Blue Devils are thought to hold a distinctive advantage in this recruiting battle. While Livingston was reluctant to come out and say he had a definite leader, he did acknowledge Duke was high on his list.

"Duke is in pretty good with me and I think they know that," said Livingston. "I know my family likes them a lot as well. The other schools are also trying to show me what they have to offer, but right now Duke probably feels they have the best chance with me."

After visiting Durham two weeks ago, Livingston began avoiding the constant barrage of media requests for interviews, which led to rampant speculation about his recruitment. Something that the 6-foot-8 floor general said he expected, but could do little about.

"I visited Duke and then Coach Williams came in for the in-home visit the next night, so it was a lot to think about. I wanted to get things sorted out before I said anything publicly."

On that official visit to Durham Livingston had chance to room with Luol Deng, who was consistently on Shaun's team during pickup action. The pair of highly versatile players seemed to work well with one another according to Shaun.

"He's such a versatile player, but he's more of a versatile forward and I'm more of a versatile guard. I think we fit in very well with one another. I wish I would have played a little better, but it doesn't always work out that way."

Perhaps the most important meeting of the weekend took place with Coach Mike Krzyzewski in which the Blue Devil head coach discussed his vision for Shaun in the Duke system.

"The way I can develop as a player is something that Coach K and I see eye to eye on. He's got such high expectations for me that it's intimidating a little bit. It's pretty big to have that kind of responsibility, but he believes in me and believes in what I can develop into."

Rather than ask for a commitment on the spot, Krzyzewski told Livingston that he didn't want to rush him in making his college choice, something that was well received by the Peoria native.

"He just told me that he would wait on me as long as I needed, and that it was important for me to take my time and make the right decision and the best decision. That's what I am going to do. I'm going to take all of my visits before I'm through."

Though he's still focusing his attention on college, Livingston did acknowledge the NBA's interest at this point. While it is his long-term goal, shaking hands with David Stern may have to wait, though the NBA will play a big role in his college decision.

"Right now I am focusing on college. I will look at the NBA after the season is over, but I think I need to go to college to develop before I look at the league seriously. I need to get stronger and just get better, but I do want to go to a school that has a track record for getting people into the league."

And which of his three finalists does he think has the best chance to do that at this point?

"I'd probably say Duke, based on their recent track record. Arizona has also been pretty good at putting people in the league, but I'd have to say Duke right now."

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