UNC, Duke to battle for elite 2005 recruit

Over the last couple years there has been Shavlik Randolph, Greg Paulus and Shaun Livingston. Randolph is already at Duke, Paulus is headed there and Livingston is a heavy lean to commit to the Blue Devils.

The next Duke-Carolina recruiting battle will likely center around a small-town Missouri kid, junior Tyler Hansbrough (No. 3 Insiders.com). This one may not be so easy for the Blue Devils to win since they are hardly the only big-time school involved.

The slender 6-9 Hansbrough has gained 25 pounds since the summer ended and has welcomed the likes of Coach Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Tubby Smith and Bruce Weber through tiny Poplar Bluff (pop. 23,000).

Duke and Carolina aren't the only ones in the mix to land Hansbrough. The junior forward took an unofficial visit to Illinois less than two weeks ago, went to Florida after the AAU Nationals in July and watched as Coach K came into the gym last week.

Hansbrough will take a trip to Missouri on Oct. 11, one to Kansas the following weekend and is in the process of narrowing down the playing field to a manageable half-dozen within the next two weeks.

One thing is for certain: Both Duke and UNC will make the cut.

"I wouldn't necessarily say they are my two favorites, but I know they're going to be on my list," said Hansbrough, who played for the St. Louis Eagles this past summer.

Despite the fact that Duke has already secured a commitment from fellow junior forward Josh McRoberts, the Blue Devils are still active in pursuit of Hansbrough.

"I haven't seen him play, but it's just one of those deals where I think we can work with each other," Hansbrough said. "Feed off one another like (Drew) Gooden and (Nick) Collison did at Kansas."

Speaking of Kansas, the Jayhawks are also under consideration – as is Florida, Arizona, Michigan State, Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas.

"I'll probably make my final decision midway through the season," said the kid dubbed "T-Bone" for his lithe frame. "Definitely not before the season, though."


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