Chris Taft update: Carolina visit goes well

There is still no leader for Xaverian (N.Y.) junior Chris Taft, but one thing is clear: Matt Doherty and Fred Quartlebaum made a significant impact on their in-home visit last week.

The 6-9, 220-pound forward said that while Syracuse, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech all tossed out scholarship offers almost immediately upon entering his home, Doherty's was contingent upon bringing up his grades.

"They were the only school that said that and I was a little surprised," Taft said. "But it makes me want to work harder."

Taft singled out the Tar Heels and Villanova as the two best visits with Syracuse close behind. St. John's, UConn and Miami are all due in this week.

Taft also said that while UNC is the only school whose offer hinged on academics, Duke has also expressed interest to his coach but the Blue Devils won't get serious until he raises his grades.

Taft said he'll definitely take an official visit to Chapel Hill, probably this summer, and he has yet to decide which other schools will be among his other four trips.

"The most important thing to me is playing time," he said. "I want to get a lot of playing time. I don't want to go there and sit the bench."

Taft's focus in the immediate future will be on boosting his grades and finishing the school year strong. He has a 78 average right now and will take the SAT in June. His next major AAU tournament, as a member of the Gauchos, will likely be at the Bob Gibbons Tournament in late May.

Taft averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds this past season. He is able to step out and knock down the 15-footer, but needs to get stronger to be able to defend at the next level.

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