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Livingston regarded as nation's No. 2 player

11/6/2003

PEORIA, Ill. -- Peoria Central All-Stater Shaun Livingston,
who is considered the nation's second-best high school prospect by
many recruiting analysts, is headed to Duke to play basketball next year.

The 6-foot-7 point guard said Wednesday he picked the Blue
Devils over Arizona and Illinois because of the team's style of
play and a relationship with coach Mike Krzyzewski that started
during his sophomore year.

"I feel that Duke's system and their style of play will fit in
great for me, with the freedom that he gives to the guards,"
Livingston said.

Livingston is an "awesomely well-rounded player" and the top
point guard in this year's recruiting class, said Tim Watts, editor
of RivalsHoops.com, which analyzes college basketball prospects.

"He sees the floor so well. He's a guy who gets the whole team
involved, literally," Watts said.

Livingston said it was "seriously tough" to turn down
Illinois, which made a late push to bring the Peoria standout to
nearby Champaign.

He said the Illini faced an uphill battle after Bill Self left
to coach Kansas and was replaced by Bruce Weber. He said he was
torn because of support from fans, as well as his long relationship
with Illinois assistant Wayne McClain, who coached at Peoria
Manual.

"There were all kinds of people counting on me to come to
Illinois. Like I said, they're not going to school ... so I've just
got to make the best decision for me," Livingston said.

Watts said Illinois fans shouldn't judge Weber's recruiting
skills based on Livingston's decision.

"He had a lot of ground to make up and the only thing he had
going in his favor was that it was a home state school," Watts
said.

Livingston said he will sign with Duke when the early signing
period begins next Wednesday but didn't close the door on jumping
straight to the NBA if teams show interest before next spring's
draft.

"I can't really predict the future but it also depends on what
kind of season I have. If I have that type of season, I'll look
into it a lot more," he said.

Livingston led Peoria Central to a 31-1 record last year and its
first Class AA state championship since 1977. He also was named MVP
of last summer's NBA Players Association Camp in Richmond, Va.

Livingston averaged 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and
two steals a game and was named to the All-State team as a junior
last year.