Buckman's coach recaps the visit

Austin (TX) Westlake head coach Clifton McNeely accompanied Tar Heel target Brad Buckman on his stay in Chapel Hill this weekend. McNeely discusses the unofficial visit in detail in the following interview with <i>Inside Carolina</i>'s David Thompson.

Inside Carolina: What were your impressions of your weekend at UNC?

Coach Clifton McNeely: I thought it was a great weekend. It was a great atmosphere to kick off the upcoming basketball season.

IC: How did you spend your time this weekend?

McNeely: I got to spend a quite a bit [with Coach Doherty].

IC: Did the weekend help to clarify for Brad some of the things he's been wondering about?

McNeely: At this point, I think that Brad has all the answers to all of his questions before him, on his table. I think that he's had opportunity now to double check everything at North Carolina. And I think he's obviously very well informed about the University of Texas, having grown up here and knowing the staff now for three years. And so I think all of his questions are answered and I think now Brad's got to sit back and decide what he wants to do. Does he want to stay at home or does he want to go away to play for the University of North Carolina.

Coach Clifton McNeely

IC: Do you think that decision is forthcoming soon?

McNeely: Brad's indication to me is he would probably make his decision somewhere a week from Monday or Tuesday because his father is leaving to go play in a golf tournament and he wanted a few days to think and he'd rather wait until his father returns from his golf tournament. When he does make this decision he wants to have both his Mom and Dad both present so I think we're probably looking at somewhere around the 22nd—23rd of October—a schedule of one week.

IC: Pardon me for asking a question I've asked you before, but do you think he'll announce by press conference or by phone?

McNeely: I don't know. I think with so many people voicing interest in finding out what Brad would like to do, I wouldn't be surprised if we put together some form of press conference.

IC: Can you tell what kind of impact the weekend had on Brad?

McNeely: I think Brad was very impressed. I think that, obviously, with the magnitude of Midnight Madness here, he definitely saw the atmosphere that was generated in old Carmichael and got a glimpse of how it would be at the Center. So I think he's definitely got a strong feeling and indication for the appreciation for Carolina basketball and appreciation for the Carolina basketball players.

IC: Any particular highlight of the weekend for you?

McNeely: Not so much for me. I'm just a coach and I really enjoyed attending practice on Saturday morning. I thought that it was a practice that was extremely positive. There was great enthusiasm and a lot of energy involved in the practice. I just thought it was just awesome. And as I shared with Coach Doherty, what I was paying attention to was just how the seniors reacted because I knew they would be genuine because they've been through it now for a few years.

I was looking at the seniors and how excited they were. You could tell that that practice wasn't anything that was put on as a show—that it's always a very positive environment and is very enthusiastic.

I think the dinner on Friday night where it was just the team—the players and recruits--Phil Ford and Brad Daugherty spoke to the team—I thought it showed the great sense of family that the Carolina basketball program has, the great sense of pride, that they all cared for one another. And once you came to the university, you were part of that family—you were part of that family for life. And that they continue to come back and give back to the program.

And I was just really impressed, having grown up and playing at the same time as Phil Ford and Brad Daugherty, to hear those guys come back and speak so fondly and really tell the players that are there now, "continue on to carry the tradition of Carolina basketball."

IC: It's going to be an exciting week for you all …

McNeely: I'd just like to say, you know regardless of what happens, I played at the college level and had the opportunity to coach at the college level, and I've been at the high school level where players have been recruited to play at the college level, and Matt Doherty and his staff have just done a tremendous job! I don't believe that I've ever worked with a head basketball coach or been involved with anybody that puts so much time and energy into recruiting. And I think Matt Doherty has just done a tremendous job and I think his staff has done a tremendous job!

You know, Carolina is blessed. I don't think, right now in college basketball there is a harder working head basketball coach out there, trying to make a difference to go out and get the best players possible. I really appreciate the Carolina staff. They've been first-class all the way and very genuine and real and open to all the questions. I just think it's a great job that Coach Doherty has done.

Coach Doherty left it with Brad; he told Brad that he would love to have that opportunity to coach Brad. He thought that he could come to Carolina and be a great player and achieve greatness there, that he and his staff would love to coach him. That, if Brad did decide to go to Texas, he'd be disappointed, but he would wish him the best. He feels Brad's just a quality individual in his character. I think that Brad—he really, really appreciated that.

Inside Carolina Top Stories