Shakur can't shake Carolina

North Carolina entered the Mustafa Shakur sweepstakes late, but head coach Matt Doherty is working hard to make up for lost ground -- and his efforts have produced surprising results.

Shakur told reporters earlier this month that he planned to narrow his lengthy list to just five schools. The consensus among those on the circuit was that the list would be composed of Arizona, N.C. State, Connecticut, Villanova and Syracuse.

But there's been a slight change of plans.

"I think I'm just going to cut my list at six, not five," Shakur told Inside Carolina on Friday afternoon. "North Carolina is going to make the cut.

"North Carolina has only been recruiting me for a short amount of time, but I'm definitely interested in what they have to say."

Thus, UNC's recent heavy interest has clearly made inroads. And the prospect of possibly playing on a team that features last year's top point guard doesn't deter Shakur.

"Raymond Felton's presence at North Carolina doesn't scare me away from them," he said. "And I could play alongside him too. I just spoke with Doherty last night, and he's interested in doing something like Duke did with two point guards on the floor. He wants to get the team speed up."

But while the impact that UNC has had on Shakur's recruitment is surprising, it should not cloud the fact that Shakur is going to be an extremely difficult get for the Tar Heels.

Thanks in part to having recruited him for well over a year, the other schools on Shakur's list of six are in much better shape. N.C. State and Arizona appear to be in the forefront.

"[They] will definitely get official visits," Shakur said of the Wolfpack and the Wildcats. "N.C. State has had the best presentation. I really like what they've had to say.

"I met with Lute Olsen the other day and Arizona is going to need a point guard soon. Will Bynum is kind of a scorer and, well, Jason Gardner will be gone."

Shakur also noted that he's had a long-term interest in UConn.

"I've always liked UConn," he said, "and Taliek Brown will be a senior."

Syracuse and Villanova did not come up in the conversation, but that says nothing of Shakur's interest in those programs. They will both assuredly factor into his final decision.

On the scholarship front, which of the schools have made a scholarship offer?

"All six schools have offered me a scholarship," he replied.

Even UNC?

"Yeah, North Carolina has offered me a full scholarship."

And so it goes for the class of 2003's top point guard. The game's top coaches have offered scholarships and are calling -- endlessly. Ringing the Shakur household is almost a guaranteed busy signal.

Shakur will escape the phone calls as he departs on Sunday for the Las Vegas Big Time event, but rest assured the coaches will be at his every game.

Related IC Links:
ABCD: Shakur Spotlight
NBPA: Shakur Notes
NBPA: Shakur Spotlight

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