Interview with Brad Buckman

<i>Inside Carolina</i>'s David Thompson spoke with Brad Buckman on Saturday evening. The 6-9 Tar Heel target from Austin (TX) Westlake is planning on making a decision next week.

Inside Carolina: What stands out most to you about the weekend at "Midnight with the Heels" and what was the highlight of the whole weekend for you?

Brad Buckman: The fans, pretty much [laughing]—how interested they are in basketball, watching a 15-minute game and there were 10,000 people there so it was pretty neat! [The highlight] was watching the Midnight Madness and just seeing how well--how awesome the atmosphere is around there and how everybody is like, "Oh, you play basketball!" And so it's pretty neat. There were four [fans] —they had my name and Fraser's name on them, UNC and stuff. That's the ones I remember.

IC: How would you describe the atmosphere at Carmichael?

Buckman: Oh, it was great; it was unbelievable!

IC: What did you think of Neil Fingleton's flat-footed dunk?

Buckman: Oh! I've seen him do it before. One time, I asked him, "Can you dunk, just standing?" And he was like, "Oh yeah, almost." He just dunked it one time. I thought, "Oh, my gosh!"

IC: What were Coach McNeely's impressions while he was there?

Buckman: He liked it a lot--he learned some stuff. He took notes during practice. He'd never been there before; he's only been to Duke.

IC: Who did you hang out with over the weekend? Who have you gotten to know?

Buckman: I hung out with Brian Morrison again. Probably Brian.

IC: You had a team dinner on Friday night. What was that like?

Buckman: It was interesting. It was really cool. I got to meet Brad Daugherty and Phil Ford, so it was nice. I got to see what they had to say about North Carolina. There was a bunch of recruits there and they talked to everybody. [Stuart Scott] was there. He was a nice guy.

IC: Did you get to talk with Jason Fraser while you were there?

Buckman: A little bit. We didn't really talk about recruiting. We just wanted to have fun. We all know how flustering this recruiting thing is. More like just getting to know who he is.

IC: Raymond Felton was there. What did you talk about with Raymond and what do you think of the potential of playing with him as the man getting the ball to you?

Buckman: Yeah. He was talking about how he wanted me and Fraser to go to UNC. He liked it a lot. He looked really happy there. He'd be fun to play with—I got a chance to play with him this summer at Five Star so I got a taste of what he's like.

IC: About the team's practice Saturday morning, what impressions do you have?

Buckman: It was fun. It was just the first practice so they were getting the basics down and so I didn't really get into it. It was neat. It was like every college practice I guess.

IC: How about the new players' lounge and workout facilities? What do you think of them?

Buckman: Nice! I like the new players' lounge; it's pretty nice—pretty sweet!

IC: You shot around some this weekend?

Buckman: Yes, on Saturday, with all the recruits. It was real strong—we just shot and stuff.

IC: How are your parents feeling right now—they're at a golf tournament, right, and coming back tomorrow?

Buckman: Yes, sir. I've talked to them a little bit. I'm going to wait until they get back and talk to them in detail. Right now, they're helping make my decision.

IC: How difficult is this for both of them?

Buckman: It's not that bad. It's just kind of difficult because they want me to do what's best. I don't know. They have mixed opinions on where I want to go.

IC: You made a comment a while ago that's been analyzed and maybe even over-analyzed. You said something to the effect that "My heart's in Texas and my head is saying Carolina." Can you tell us more about what you meant with that comment?

Buckman: Well, Texas—I've grown up in Texas. I've always had a dream to go and play at Texas and so it's been in my heart, mostly to get out and do what I've always wanted to do. But, in my mind, North Carolina would be a better place, I guess, for me, but I don't know. I have mixed opinions on that.

IC: You've got a girlfriend. Is is OK if I ask how she feels about this decision you're making?

Buckman: She wants me to do what I want to do. I've talked to her because she's going to start going through what I've gone through because she plays basketball also. She's a junior.

IC: Is she part of the "heart" part of the decision that you talked about?

Buckman: Not really. We just started dating so we'll see how everything works out. I don't know.

IC: What's your decision process now, Brad?

Buckman: I'm going to talk to my parents. Let them see what I think and let them voice their opinion and then I'm going to decide.

IC: Will you decide around the first of next week as has been reported or has that changed?

Buckman: Probably. I'm probably going to do it in the middle of next week or late, so I can just weigh all my options, all the pros and cons and be totally fair about it. Probably by a phone call.

IC: Do you have a "lean" toward one of the two schools right now?

Buckman: No, not right now. Everything's all square.

IC: Does Sean May's decision affect your decision at all?

Buckman: I'd love to go against that guy! I'd love to compete and go every day and get some practice with him. It'd be a free-for-all! You're not promised a spot.

IC: How would his presence on the team affect you?

Buckman: I'd know I was going up against the best everyday and so I know I'm getting better, too.

IC: Is a spring verbal still an option in the decision-making process for you?

Buckman: You know, probably not. I want to get it over with. I don't want my [Westlake] team to suffer, to go down because my head's gone.

IC: Do you have all the information you need to make a decision?

Buckman: Yes, most likely.

IC: Is there any major, unresolved issue for you?

Buckman: No.

IC: Did you get to spend time with Coach Doherty over the weekend?

Buckman: Yes sir. We just talked about leaving home. Whether it was hard for me or not. How many people have done that and how he has.

IC: How did Coach Doherty leave it with you as you left Chapel Hill?

Buckman: He was like, "You went to my Midnight Madness, so I'm not going to call you. Do whatever you want to do. If it's Texas, we'll be with you 100%, but if North Carolina, we'll be with you 100%."

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