Tatum talks Duke visit, recruitment

Scout caught up with elite junior Jayson Tatum to discuss his first official visit, his plan moving forward and his timetable for making his college decision.

After taking a number of unofficial visits, Jayson Tatum, one of the top prospects in high school basketball, took his first official visit this past weekend.

Tatum, a junior out of St. Louis (Mo.) Chaminade, visited Duke for their game against Syracuse. While on campus, Tatum took a full tour of the campus, saw the facilities, sat in on a class, as well as team meetings. He also spent a considerable amount of time with the players.

What stood out most about the trip?

“Really just how the coaches interact with the players and especially the game,” Tatum told Scout. “It was unbelievable. The atmosphere was awesome.”

“I really enjoyed the game,” the five-star prospect added. “I enjoyed how they took us to campus and they showed us how they lived and how they practice and things like that.”

Tatum was hosted by Scout’s former No. 1 ranked prospect Jahlil Okafor, who Tatum had a previous relationship with from AAU and USA Basketball. Duke assistants Jeff Capel and Jon Scheyer are the lead recruiters for Tatum.

“It would probably be the coaches,” Tatum said when asked what he likes about the Blue Devils. “I have a pretty good relationship with all of them. Spending time with them and talking with them is great.”

Tatum, who has taken unofficial visits to Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and St. Louis, said there wasn’t a method to making Duke his first visit, but they are certainly high on his list.

“Maybe not, because of the visit being my first, but they’ve been high on my list,” Tatum said. “I really enjoyed myself and they are high on my list.”

At this time, Tatum, Scout’s No. 3 overall prospect, doesn’t have any other trips scheduled, but he may look to add one.

“I definitely have thought about it,” Tatum admitted. “I don’t have anything set up. I could see myself taking another visit or so and definitely after the season.”

Tatum said one school in particular has been actively looking to set up an official visit.

North Carolina is a school that really wants to get me on campus,” Tatum said.

“It’s going really well,” he added when asked about UNC’s recruitment of him. “I feel like I have a great relationship with coach Williams. He comes out as much as possible to show his face. He talks to my parents as well.”

Although it’s still early, especially for an elite prospect, Tatum is gearing up to dig in a little further on his recruitment.

“I just talk to each school on my list,” he said. “Pretty soon here I’m going to cut it down and get a little more serious.”

To go with Duke and North Carolina, Tatum’s list also includes Arizona, Connecticut Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Saint Louis and Wake Forest.

“I want to get it over early, especially before my senior season,” Tatum said when pressed about a timetable for making his college choice.

Tatum said the head coaches that have seen him during his junior season are Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Kim Anderson, Jim Crews and John Groce.

Tatum is currently averaging 28 points and 12 rebounds a game.

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