Carolina visit has HUGE impact on Buckman

Tar Heel target Brad Buckman was in Chapel Hill this weekend on an official visit. Shortly after Buckman returned to Austin on Sunday night, <i>IC's</i> David Thompson conducted the following Q & A with the coveted power forward.

Inside Carolina: When did you arrive in Chapel Hill?

Brad Buckman: Around 12:30, 12:45 on Friday.

IC: When did you get back to Austin?

Buckman: I got home about 30 minutes ago.

IC: How would you describe your official visit to Carolina this weekend?

Buckman: It was great. I liked it a lot. I had a blast. It was a lot of fun.

IC: How was the FSU game?

Buckman: It was cool—I didn't stay for the whole game. I'm not a huge fan of football games.

IC: Where did you sit at the game?

Buckman: Where all the players sit. We sat up on the mezzanine level. They had the whole team there.

IC: Lang and Capel led the students onto the field after Carolina won.

Buckman: Oh really? I didn't see that.

IC: Did you go down to Franklin Street after the game?

Buckman: No.

IC: What was the highlight of trip to you?

Buckman: Everything. It was awesome.

IC: Did any one particular thing stand out that you really liked?

Buckman: No, all of [it] was really cool.

IC: Was the trip what you expected?

Buckman: Yeah, and a little more. I had a lot of fun. It's a great place. I liked it a lot.

IC: What did you most like about Carolina, now?

Buckman: The atmosphere. Everybody respects you. It's really cool. It's truly a basketball school.

IC: Do you still have any concerns about playing there?

Buckman: No, no. I know I can play there.

IC: How could you trip have been better?

Buckman: It really couldn't have been better. That was awesome. It was really cool. No flaws.

IC: Carolina basketball is often described as a "family." Would you agree? How was that confirmed in your mind?

Buckman: Yeah. Everybody comes back to hang out.

IC: Who did come back and who did you meet?

Buckman: I saw Haywood. That's the only one that came back right now. I didn't really get to talk to him. I was watching individuals.

IC: Can you see yourself fitting into that family?

Buckman: Yeah.

IC: Who did you hang out with most?

Buckman: I hung out with Bersticker, Lang, Morrison…

IC: Did you meet Neil Fingleton?

Buckman: Yeah, he's a nice guy. Coach Doherty picked me up at the airport.

IC: Did you meet or talk with any former Carolina ballplayers?

Buckman: No.

IC: How about Coach Smith or Coach Guthridge?

Buckman: No. Coach Smith was there. My parents got to meet him but I didn't.

IC: Tell me what your schedule was over the weekend.

Buckman: Not really busy. Not as busy as at Kansas. I liked having more free time.

IC: Did you play any ball this weekend or shoot around?

Buckman: No.

IC: Were there any other recruits there with you?

Buckman: No, I was the only one.

IC: What do you think of the basketball facilities?

Buckman: They were really cool. I liked how everything was just basketball only.

IC: What did you think of the town of Chapel Hill itself?

Buckman: It's really cool. Everybody's cool. I like how, after every game, they go out and party and say congratulations to you.

IC: Did you go out with them after the game?

Buckman: Yeah, a little bit. I went out with Brian Morrison—wherever he went.

IC: You hung out with Bersticker, Lang and BMo. What were they like?

Buckman: They were really cool. Easy to get along with. They were interested in what you had to say and really cool.

IC: I heard and read that some of the students came up to you with signs and some had a sign at The Pit. How did you like that?

Buckman: Yeah, they were yelling my name when I came by, had a big ole banner out. It felt pretty good.

IC: How did this visit compare with your other visits?

Buckman: North Carolina is one-of-a-kind. You have the best of every world. Like, you can party, you can play basketball, you can just hang out. I don't know. There's so much stuff to do around there. It's unbelievable.

IC: Were your parents happy with the trip? What do you think they like most?

Buckman: They liked it a lot. They really did like it. My mom likes that kind of stuff. She likes old-looking places and having historical stuff.

IC: What did you think they liked most about the school?

Buckman: Probably tradition. You know [that] if you want to develop yourself as a basketball player, then this is the school.

IC: Are your parents happy with what they saw and heard while in Chapel Hill?

Buckman: Yeah, they loved it a lot.

IC: Did you get all your questions answered while you were there?

Buckman: Yeah, of course.

IC: Did you meet any of the professors and/or staff this weekend?

Buckman: They had the academic advisor there.

IC: What did you parents do this weekend?

Buckman: They hung out with the coaches mainly. They went over to Coach Doherty's house Friday night.

IC: Did you spend any time with the other coaches?

Buckman: Yeah. They drove me around campus.

IC: Had you ever met Coach Quartlebaum before?

Buckman: No. He's one of the nicest guys. He's really nice. All those coaches are nice.

IC: What is your list of schools now? I understand you're not considering UCLA now? What's the main reason?

Buckman: Yeah. I really didn't fit in there. California's fun but I didn't much want to live there.

IC: So Carolina, Texas and Kansas is now the list?

Buckman: Yes.

IC: Will Shavlik Randolph's decision affect your decision at all?

Buckman: No. I'd like to play with anybody. Whoever North Carolina gets, I would not mind playing with.

IC: What was the one most important part of the trip, if you could sum it up?

Buckman: Just to see how—I liked the individuals. I just got to see how, just from a player's point of view, how Coach Doherty is. And Coach Doherty, me and him talked one-on-one for a while. He seemed like a really nice guy—a player's coach. And everything—it was unbelievable.

IC: You had an interesting comment after your official visit to Kansas. You said that, at Kansas, from the players you got to see the truth behind the statements being made. Was that true at Carolina?

Buckman: Yes. Exactly true. They give you straight up what the situation is.

IC: Did your trip change your thinking at all about where you want to play ball? Did it help you in your decision in any way?

Buckman: I still have one more trip to go. To [the University of] Texas. I can't make my decision yet.

IC: Have you got a date for that yet?

Buckman: It think it's this weekend, but I'm not sure.

IC: Do you have a leader as of right now?

Buckman: As of right now, no. But if there was one, it'd probably be Carolina right now.

IC: Texas could change that?

Buckman: Yes, it depends, yes.

IC: So, I don't want to put words in your mouth. Right now, if you were to pick a leader, you would pick Carolina?

Buckman: Yes.

IC: Why is that?

Buckman: I don't know. I liked it a lot. I don't know. It's just, that atmosphere fit me so well.

IC: Are you ready to get recruiting over with?

Buckman: Oh yeah. [laughing].

IC: When will you be ready to make your decision?

Buckman: I'm thinking end of October. I'm probably going to go [make a decision] earlier than that.

IC: What is the process now for you as you move toward a decision?

Buckman: Sit down with my parents and sit down with my coach [McNeely of Westlake] and look back on (everything).


Buckman (center), with Brian Morrison (left) and Orlando Melendez (right), at Kenan Stadium before the UNC-FSU game on Saturday.


For more on Buckman, check out IC's Brad Buckman profile


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