Livingston Ready To Get It Done

After nearly two full years of being in the national spotlight the end is now less than 10 days away for the nations top prep playmaker. With all the visits, phone calls, and everything else that goes with being a big time recruit behind him, its time to sit down with his family and coach to make the biggest decision of his life.

"The fact that it's finally over is just now starting to sink in," said Shaun Livingston in a Monday night interview with TDD. "I'm pretty happy about that."

Indeed the end is near, as Livingston will choose between Duke, Arizona, and Illinois sometime in the next week and a half. However those three fan bases may have to wait longer than expected for the announcement to take place.

"I'll probably make the announcement next week, but it won't be Monday. I'll call the coaches the night before, and then I'll make the announcement around the middle of next week."

With his timetable and schedule set, Livingston says he's now down to weighing the advantages of all three finalists in hopes of narrowing and eventually choosing from his list.

"Right now the pros and cons I am looking at are the style of play, how good and proven the coaches are, how I fit in with the players, and where I can best prepare myself for the NBA, if I make it, and after the NBA with a degree."

Between now and the decision, Shaun and his closest advisors will sit down and go over everything before the decision is made. Those advisors will consist of his high school coach, his father, and grandfather.

"This is going to be my decision, but I value their opinions and will listen to everything they have to say. Right now if I had to guess, I'd say they pretty much favor Duke."

While that's long been a rumor that Blue Devil faithful have hung their collective hats on, another rumor surrounding Livingston's "fit" with the members of the Duke roster was in question.

"Media-wise people seem to think that I didn't fit in as well with Duke as I did with the other schools. That's just because the media asked me how I fit in with the other schools more than they did with Duke. At Illinois and Arizona it was more red carpet, but at Duke it was more down to earth and real. I think that's where the rumor came from."

Rumors are nothing new to him either. After visiting each school his media savvy comments fueled the rumor mill's speculation on which school truly could be called "the leader".

"There have been a lot of rumors, but people hear what they want to hear a lot of the time. Hopefully they'll just listen to what I am saying, and not the rumors."

After visiting Durham in late September, Livingston took two weeks off from the recruiting process before making his final two visits to Arizona and Illinois over the past two weeks. Despite being in the background for over a month, the Blue Devils haven't faded into obscurity.

"I've spoken with Coach K a number of times since I last visited with them. I talked to him last week, and Coach said we'd talk this week after I visit Illinois, so that'll probably be this week. Duke hasn't been bugging me or anything like that though."

Once he makes his decision on college, Livingston says he's ready for the next wave of questions that are likely to surround his entry into the NBA. However the dream of playing in the league remains clear, though kept in a conservative perspective, which is playing a role in his college decision.

"There is no guarantee that I will even make the NBA. I mean that's not a given, and I know that. That's why I am looking for the school that will prepare me to get there and stay there. I'm also looking for the place that will prepare me for life after, or if I don't get there. I want to choose a school that will prepare me on all levels."

Name That Program:

Shaun was kind enough to offer his opinions on which of his three finalists provided the best of each of the following criteria in a Q&A style format.

Most media attention: "Definitely Duke."

Style of play: "That's really close. I don't want to give an edge to either schools right now, so I'll say Duke and Arizona."

Surroundings: "Illinois. It was great going back and seeing all those guys, and it's my local school."

Most exposure to the NBA: "Probably Duke, but Arizona is up there too."

Biggest Impact on college basketball as a freshman: "Probably Duke, but I mean it all depends on who goes pro from which school. I think Duke has the most potential for me to have a big impact though."

Most Helpful Degree: "Duke and Illinois are pretty close there."

Best overall situation: "Right now I can't really say. I mean that's the whole decision right there. It all comes down to pros and cons."

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