'I just felt like part of a big family'

For fans of Duke, Illinois and Arizona, tonight is a sigh a relief. All three schools were hoping that Shaun Livingston would escape Chapel Hill this Sunday without making a verbal commitment to the Tar Heels.

Needless to say, Shaun Livingston enjoyed his visit to UNC. After all, he ate at some popular establishments, got to spend quality time with the current team, played some pickup hoops and got his fair share of the Franklin Street nightlife.

"I had a lot fun, man, " Livingston said. "I couldn't believe how well I fit in with the guys on the team.

"To be honest -- it really didn't even feel like a visit. I was so relaxed and I just got along so well with the people there that it was surprising to me. Nobody put any pressure on me (to commit) and I just felt like part of a big family or something."

Before the visit, Livingston really never had a chance to develop any sort of rapport with Roy Williams, other than over the phone. But that's something that has definitely changed.

"That was the first time that I really got to know Coach Williams in person," he said. "We had great conversations. I feel like I really got to know him -- up close and personal -- he is just so honest with me, and I appreciate that. I just fit in really well. Everybody made me feel so at home and that's what I like. They really have a family atmosphere down there and it just felt great being part of that."

This was the first of four official visits for Livingston and he's sticking to his guns about making all of necessary trips before pulling the trigger and offering his verbal commitment to any of the four programs.

But is he any closer to making a decision after his recent visit? And did Williams and his staff try to close the deal while he was there?

"I'm going to do what's best for me," Livingston said. "I think (the UNC staff) understands that. We talked about it all and some of the things that we discussed will stay between them and I, but it was definitely a great visit."

Livingston got to run some games with the current Tar Heels as well as former Tar Heels. He admitted in a modest way that he performed well, but also has some things to learn.

"I felt that I played pretty well," said Livingston, who was checked by the likes of Raymond Felton and Shammond Williams. "I did just about everything with the team down there. I thought that I played pretty well against those guys but I also know that there are some things that I need to improve on."

The Peoria, Ill. rising senior also got to check out the crowds at Saturday's football game and many folks in attendance made him well aware how much they want the No. 1 point guard in the class of 2004 to be a Tar Heel. They chanted his name and held up signs and banners with his name and number on them.

"I really didn't know what was happening until it was right on us," said Livingston of the attention at Kenan Stadium. "It was nice. When I saw it, I was like -- Woah!"

So has Carolina made a surge on his list after the visit?

"I definitely think so," he said quickly. "They're right up there with the rest of the schools. It was definitely a great feeling being there. It's a family atmosphere there and that's what I really liked."

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