Livingston Still Staying The Course

After spending the weekend in the desert taking a third of four official visits, the nation's top playmaker returned home to Peoria, IL to begin comparing his trips to Arizona and Duke while preparing for this weekend's trip to Illinois. With the wild and crazy recruitment winding down, there are still very few clear cut facts, though some things are coming into focus.

"I had a good trip to Arizona," said Shaun Livingston. "I got there on Thursday and hung out with the guys and played pick up. Friday I ate breakfast with the team and met with the coaches and academic people there before playing pick up again. A couple hundred people showed up for that. That was pretty much it."

In that pick up game the Wildcats continuously paired Shaun with incoming freshman Mustafa Shakur, in an effort to illustrate the pair's ability to play together and alleviate some reported concerns the 6-foot-6 point man had about being able to earn playing time with Arizona's already deep backcourt.

"That was their sales pitch: That if I came there I could be part of a really strong backcourt. Me and Mustafa could play together, and that's what they wanted me to see. One thing I noticed was how laid back everyone there was, it was a different atmosphere than I'd seen before."

After returning home to Illinois, Livingston says he's yet to really have a chance to sit down and compare the Arizona and Duke trips because of the lack of information from Illinois.

"It wouldn't be fair to them (Illinois) or me to really start comparing things without taking all my visits. I am really not getting into it right now though."

Though he continues to play the politically correct approach towards his interviews, Livingston did take the opportunity to address a rumor that has been floating around his recruitment.

"I've heard most of the rumors, but there's nothing I can really do about them. One thing that isn't true is that I won't go to a school because they have a lot of guards on the roster now, or coming in. That's not true at all. Wherever I end up going, it will be up to me to earn playing time and to work hard to keep it. I'm definitely not leaning away from a school because of their roster."

Perhaps one of the bigger surprises this weekend was the appearance of Shaun's grandfather in Arizona, after many speculated that he would not be in attendance.

"My granddad couldn't go to North Carolina because it was so early in the process and plane tickets were pretty high, but he wants to go with me to my visits so he can see everything and help me make the best decision for me. He'll also be going to Illinois this weekend with me."

After this weekend Livingston will take around a week before making his decision and announcing. At this point he's looking forward to sitting down and sorting it all out so he can move on and focus on his season.

"It's going to be my decision, but I am going to sit down with my family because they are my family. They'll probably tell me what they think are the pros and cons each school and then we'll talk about it. I mean this is the biggest decision of my life so far, and I want to make the right choice. It's my decision, but they will definitely be there with me."

So which coaching staff is the most likely to see #14 running their offense in the future? That remains to be seen, though Livingston did offer his opinions on the situation at this point.

"Duke is probably still the most confident at this point because they have built a strong relationship with me and my family, and I think Coach K has a unique plan for me if I go to Duke. That's something that will be a big factor in my decision once I get home and have all the information from all three schools."

And the other factors that will play a part?

"I want to go somewhere I fit in with the team and can be comfortable with the guys, and the team's style of play. I also want to play for a coach and program that will best prepare me for my long term goals. That's not just the NBA, but also helping me get ready to get a good job in case I get injured or after I finish playing."

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