TDD Q&A Session: Shaun Livingston

After returning home from Peoria Central High, the nation's top playmaker and newest Blue Devil has settled down and is now preparing for his future both as a senior high school All-American and a member of the Duke basketball family. <I></I> had a chance to speak with him on Wednesday night.

TDD: When it came down to it, what was it that separated Duke from the rest of the schools?

Shaun Livingston: Honestly it was the relationship I have developed with Coach K. He's the head coach and he's the one who's going to be guiding me as I work toward achieving my goals. It is hard to argue with his successes over the years.

You mentioned you told Coach K Monday night. Can you walk me through that conversation?

We were just talking and I just kind of knew. So I told him that I wanted to come to Duke. I think he was a little bit surprised by it since it was so sudden. He just told me thank you for giving us a chance and he knew we'll be successful over the next couple of years.

Did he talk with you about the kind of target you have on your back as a Duke recruit?

We talked about that a little bit, but I mean it's been like that for a while now. I'm not saying I'm the best player in the country, but some people have said that whether it's right or wrong it has already made everyone try to make a name off me. It's a challenge I've gotten used to, but it helps since I have to be ready each and every time I go on the floor.

Are you glad the recruiting process is finally over?

Oh yes. It is certainly a big relief.

Name the most ridiculous thing you heard about yourself over the process.

That I was stringing schools along just to do it. That wasn't true. I enjoyed myself and took all my visits, but I was always trying to make the best decision I could. This is a life long decision, and some people who say that kind of thing should realize that.

Have you picked your number at Duke?

I hope it'll be 14.

Will you have another chance to see Duke this year?

I hope so. I am working on finding time to get down there and see a real game in Cameron.

Whom else knew about your decision early?

Actually I was text messaging with DeMarcus Nelson Monday night.

Are you guys familiar with one another?

Oh yeah we know each other. He's a great guard, and I think we're going to come in together and make up a terrific backcourt along with David McClure.

What do you need to work on before next year?

Getting stronger. That's the main thing for me right now.

Will you sign your letter of intent in the fall?

Yes I will do that on November 12th I think.

How long will you be in a Duke uniform?

Right now my goal is to get my degree in three years and then achieve my dream of playing in the NBA. But I won't go until I am ready both mentally and physically. Duke can prepare me in all ways for that. If it takes two years or four, I'll have to look at it when the opportunity arrives. I know Coach K has my best interest at heart and he'll sit down with me and we'll talk about it when the time comes.

There's talk of you going straight out of high school…can you elaborate on that?

Yeah people seem to know more about what I am going to do than I do.

Ok, what are the odds you enroll at Duke?


Was there any backlash from your decision?

Oh yeah it's kind of intense here, but that's OK. It'll probably get a lot worse when we start our season, but that's nothing I can't handle.

What are your goals for the season?

Number one is winning a state title. We did it last year, and if we can repeat this year I think all the individual goals I've set for myself will take care of themselves.

Goals for your career at Duke?

To win as many titles as we can and to make the program and team successful. If I do that I think the individual things will fall into place.

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