Buckman reflects on decision to attend Texas

<p>When it finally came down to it, Brad Buckman ended up going with his heart. </p>

The 6-9, 225-pound forward chose to stay home and attend Texas, becoming the latest big man to spurn Matt Doherty and North Carolina.

"It was a really tough decision because Carolina has everything and it's what every player dreams of," said the Austin Westlake High senior. "When I was little, I always wore Texas stuff and lived and breathed Texas. It was my dream to play for my home state and in front of my family."

Buckman ended up making that dream into a reality on Tuesday morning, when he had his high school coach, Phil McNeely, call both staff's to deliver the news.

"It's tough to say no to Carolina, but I didn't feel like I could go wrong either way," added Buckman, who averaged 19.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.3 blocks last season at Westlake.

Buckman admitted that the recruiting race was a virtual dead-heat for much of the past month after he had eliminated UCLA and Kansas.

The mild-mannered Texan enjoyed the process, especially since none of his final four schools were interested in his services until midway through this past summer, when he burst upon the AAU scene.

Buckman said that local reaction after making the decision has been enough to thwart any second doubts he might have.

"It was really good seeing all the people around here," Buckman said. "It was very reassuring. They liked the decision I made and it made me feel really good."

Doherty was fighting an uphill battle in his battle to land Buckman. He was battling with a local school, and also with the fact that Buckman's family is extremely close with Longhorns coach Rick Barnes.

In the end, Buckman decided that he could enjoy similar success on the court without having to leave home. That also meant saying no to his head, which all along was telling him to go to Chapel Hill.


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