After visits, decision nears for Paulus

Just picture Greg Paulus and his family, which includes his parents and five siblings, crammed into Roy Williams' office along with the rest of the UNC staff.

That's exactly what happened in Chapel Hill last Friday morning – and then occurred again just a handful of hours later in Durham with the Duke staff in an office hardly meant for 10 or so people.

"It was crowded," laughed Paulus.

Paulus and his family go to Hilton Head, S.C., each year for a family getaway. It's tradition.

This time the family packed up from their Syracuse, N.Y., home a week ago today and made a couple of pit stops. First they dropped off his older brothers' clothes and other belongings at Georgetown University, where both attend college, and then headed to North Carolina, for a full day of meetings, tours and everything else with both the Tar Heels and Blue Devils the following day.

He met with UNC from about 10:30-3:30 last Friday and then hit Duke from about 5 until 11 p.m.

"We tried to split it up evenly," said Paulus, who had dinner with his family in Chapel Hill the night before the big day. "It wasn't too bad. I thought it would be even more hectic than it was."

This was a chance for the coveted 6-2, 175-pound junior point guard/quarterback to take a closer look at the campuses – and more importantly, a chance for his family to get a peek as well.

Paulus has four older brothers and a younger sister. Three of his brothers play football at Georgetown and one recently graduated and is moving to San Francisco to take a job with an accounting firm.

"I wanted to go and get a better feel for the campuses again," Paulus said. "The last time we went I was looking, but not as serious. I also wanted my family to look at them because they know me better than anyone. We're definitely real tight and they loved both schools and support whichever one (including Notre Dame) that I choose."

"This trip definitely helped," he added. "The last time we were down there the Carolina staff was only in for about two days after getting the job. They didn't even have the keys to the building, so it wasn't really fair to do to them."

"The most obvious thing about both programs is that they are first-class," Paulus said. "That's not so easy to find these days. Coach Williams is one of the best in the country and I believe he's going to put Carolina right back on the map and put them back where they were."

Paulus and his family finished up the day-long tours and then made the five-hour drive to Hilton Head.

"We hang out on the beach a lot, eat good food and play basketball from 9-11 a.m. every other day," Paulus said. "We play 5-on-5 because there's another family that comes down."

Paulus said he is fully recovered from the injuries that plagued him during the summer. In fact, he is gearing up for double-sessions in football which begin on Aug. 18.

Despite Paulus' exploits on the gridiron (he tossed 45 touchdowns and threw for more than 3,000 yards as a sophomore), he doesn't expect that football will be in his future – even though some big-time schools have offered football scholarships.

"It's pretty much hoops," he said. "I like playing in high school. It's a lot of fun, but my first love is basketball and I don't want football to interfere with that in college."

Paulus will head back to New York this weekend and then gear up for football season while also deciding whether to take one final visit to Notre Dame, which he has already seen on more than one occasion before. Although he won't come out and say it publicly, sources indicate that this is down to a three-team race: UNC, Duke and Notre Dame.

Syracuse and Xavier are basically out of the running.

No one factor stands out, but the fact that Raymond Felton is a near-lock to leave Chapel Hill for the lure of the NBA after this season certainly doesn't hurt the Tar Heels' chances of landing Paulus.

"It has an influence, but I'm not sure how big of one it is," Paulus said. "You always want to look at playing time. Everyone wants to play. That's definitely a positive for UNC if Felton's not there, because it doesn't look like they really have a point guard in 2004 if he leaves. I can hopefully step right in and play for four years. The timing helps and that's definitely a plus for UNC."


Check out IC's Greg Paulus profile.

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