Tyus Jones talks upcoming visits

The top point guard in the class of 2014 sits down with TDD to discuss the upcoming events in his recruiting process.

TDD: How are things progressing from the injury??

Tyus Jones: Things are going pretty good, and I can't really complain. I haven't really had any pain, and right now I just have to wait it out. The days are getting kinda long, but the down time gives my body a chance to rest from a busy summer.  All that being said, I'm looking forward to getting back soon. 

?What's the target date for you to be fully done with the rehab process?

Well, I'm excited because I get my splint off in a few weeks, and then I have to rehab it before I can officially start practicing and playing again. 

?I think it should be around weeks total before I'm back to playing again. This was my first major issue since my freshman year when I lacerated my kidney, but I didn't have to have surgery for that. And this was my first surgery. As an athlete it was a bit scary to not know what that was like, but I just went with it because I knew it was going to help my thumb get to 100 percent. 

?How does it affect you from a basketball development standpoint?

It definitely affects me, not being able to shoot or dribble with my right hand at all. I've still been able to do some cardio stuff and working out off the court everyday so when I can come back, I'll be in good shape to handle the basketball training stuff that I do.

?Now that school has started up, how are you handling the recruiting process with schools coming by to visit you?

?Yeah it hasn't been too bad. I've had a few schools come and visit me. It's been manageable, and I feel like it's been good for me.

?When talking recruiting, who comprises your inner circle?

?I've got a really close knit family with my mom and dad, and my older brother, JD, who has been through the recruiting process already. My little brother always has his input, but I also talk with my aunt and uncle and both my grandparents. Most of them come on visits with me to offer their points of view, which is really helpful.

?That's a pretty big support group…

?You know, I really value what my family members say. They know it's up to me, but they know that I really value what they say and don't want to make a decision just by myself. It's easier to have a group of people that you can open up and talk about that kind of stuff with.

?From a pure basketball perspective, who are your go to people?

?That is my mother and my older brother. 

?Any reason why?

?Me and my mom…we're very close. She's only interested in what is best for me. She's a very caring and a loving mother, and we're very close.  My older brother, he's my trainer and he's been through the recruiting process already so he knows what to look for. Those are the two I talk about recruiting stuff with the most.

?Your mom has played the point person for your recruitment for a while now, correct?

?Yes. She's been open to all coaches, and she has good relationships with them for sure. She wants the best for me, so she's very into the recruiting process and is looking at the smaller details and the education stuff with the schools. She's like Jabari Parker's mom in that she's very involved in the recruiting process so she can help me.

?When talking academics with a school, what is it she's focusing on?

?A little bit of everything. What kind of degrees they have, what kind of tutors the team has, what the team GPA is, and things like that. Education comes first in this family, and that's the main thing she's looking at.

?Given her role, is she the one coordinating the various visits?

?Yes, she definitely is. She's very involved in that regard. She sets up all our un-officials, and gets me organized with that stuff. She's definitely a huge help to me with that. 

?Both Justise Winslow and Jahlil Okafor specifically mentioned her being such a great influence with the Team USA stuff this summer…

?She has a great relationship with them because with Team USA all of us have a great bond together. I'm real close with Jahlil and Justise, and I'm extremely close with my mom so that means they are getting close with her too. We're one great big kind of family. She always looks out for us.

?It sounds like all three camps are close…

?She is definitely very close with them. She's really good friends with Mrs. Winslow, and they get along great and they do as well with Jahlil's father. The parents were really great on the Lithuania trip. We all got along really great and everybody got along very well. It works out a lot better when the team and the parents can all be bonded together. 

?So, who had the idea to take visits with each other?

?You know, it's a known fact that we want to play together with myself, Jahlil, and Justise, so it just kinda came up one day where we said we're all serious about playing together so we said why don't we seriously look at taking visits together and see what it's like. We're best friends off the court too, and we like hanging out together. 

?How did your parents react when you talked with them about doing these visits together?

?My mom is very open to that, and we're trying to see as many schools unofficially just so we can get a feel for certain schools so that when go to narrow down what schools we are going to visit officially we'll have an idea about those schools. 

?My mom likes that I'm trying to do these visits with Jahlil and Justise because she knows and likes that I want to play with those guys in college, she thinks it's great that we're doing these visits together.

?What are you hoping to learn about the schools as you evaluate them for a potential official visit?

?There's a lot of factors. The most important is the academic situation. What the setup is with that, but we also look a lot at coaching style. We want to know what a coach's philosophy is, and how he coaches his guys. What kind of relationship he has with his players. Then you look at the players themselves, what kind of bond do they have? What style of play? What kind of guys they have there. 

?What schools have you guys visited together previously?

?There hasn't been any actually.  Not yet. Justise has had his visits, and Jahlil has visited some places. I've taken a few as well. This will be the first time we've tried to do a visit all together.

?What made you decide to go visit Duke together first?

?There wasn't a specific reason, really. It just kinda worked out that way. With Jahlil, he's already visited Duke unofficially, and he's seen what the campus is like. Duke was the next school on my list to visit unofficially, so me and Jahlil talked about it and he said he hoped to come with me down there so we could have fun on the visit there. We talked about it with Justise and he felt the same way. He hasn't been on Duke's campus yet, so we all thought, 'Let's do this, let's go visit Duke together'. 

?Is Jahlil confirmed yet to join you and Justise on the visit?

?I don't think he's positive yet, but he is trying to make it happen. I need to talk with him and his dad some more about it.

?Are there any other visits lined up yet?

?No, Duke's the only school we have right now like that. I'm sure there will be other schools down the line, and I'll take it one visit at a time.  Like I'll be visiting Duke and North Carolina while I'm down there, then I'll sit down with my family and figure out the next move. 

?Is there a plan in place to facilitate visiting both Duke and UNC while you are down there?

?Yeah there is, but I'm not 100 percent on the details at this point. It's a firm plan, and we've talked about it with the North Carolina coaches since I'm already going to be going down there, but there's not organized plans yet.

?You are at a stage now in your recruitment where most guys within a year from now are making decisions on where they are going to college. Do you fall in the same boat or are you thinking about having a longer process?

?It's kinda hitting me recently that I am getting closer to that kind of timeframe and I think that's something I'm looking at doing too, having it narrowed down by next year and figuring out what my decision will be. Once you start taking officials, that's when it gets real serious.

?So what factors help you move to the next step?

?Personally, I look at where I could fit in at certain schools, and what I could bring to the table at the different schools. I look at the type of players there that would be playing around me -- that's something very important to me. I want to see what kind of players they have on and off the court because it's important to me that I fit in with the guys that are there. The education is important and the coaching, the style of play, the bond that the coach has with his point guard, that's important too.

?For a while now you've been considered the top PG in your class.  How does that factor into your decision and evaluation of schools?

?You know, with highly recruited people, I think there's always a buzz around them of "one and done, one and done, one and done", but I don't think that's something I'm trying to make my only goal. 

?Sure, it'd be great to be able to go to the NBA after one year, because for most players, it's your dream to play in the NBA. If everything were able to work out that would be fabulous, but I am not going into it with the mindset that I have to go into the league after one year. 

?I'm really more worried about just focusing on getting to the next level, which is college. You still have to go to college and perform because no matter how much hype you have in high school, no matter how much buzz you have about your recruitment, you still have to go to college and play and prove that you can perform.  You have to look at whatever school can help you perform and help you have success as you grow as a player.

?From your perspective, what's the value of staying longer in college?

The biggest thing is experience. College's main thing is about growing up, and becoming a more complete person. You hear a lot of guys talk about how they should have stayed longer in college, so like I said before, the NBA…that's everybody's dream when they go to college, but a lot of times it's not the best situation for them to go right away. That'll be something I'll have to be very cautious about if I do get that early opportunity because I don't want to make a bad decision with that. 

?Right now, I'm just focusing on preparing for the next step of going to college and playing Division 1 ball. Once I get there, it's about performing.

?When you say you want to play with the right group of guys as you mentioned earlier, what does that mean to you?

?It doesn't mean that I'm just looking to play with like an all-star type of lineup. It's more about just playing with a roster that is the right fit for me. It'd be great to play with a bunch of USA teammates or something like that, but at the same time if certain colleges have a good mix of guys with different roles that I could play with, that's really great too and I could play with a group like that for sure. Different schools have different personnel. 

?With the Duke visit coming up, what are you looking forward to about that visit??

Being on campus, and seeing the atmosphere. To see what the students are like, is big.  You always see it on television, but I want to see firsthand. I mean, what it's like to be a Duke player? What's it like playing in front of their fans? I really want to see their facilities and just how they operate. Basically, what it's like to be a Duke player.

?Have you talked with any current players there or just the coaches ?

?Just the coaches right now.

?Who is recruiting you from the Duke staff?

?Right now I talk with Coach K and Coach Capel both regularly. I talk with Coach K probably every other week, but I talk with Coach Capel several times a week. I've been talking with both of them for some time now.

?What do they talk with you about mostly?

?They talk about how I fit in with the program. Coach K talks about how I'd fit in with him if I was his point guard, and just what kind of player I could be at Duke. He's told me how I'd be utilized as a player.  Coach Capel checks in on me a lot, and he stays up on how I'm doing. They talk about Kyrie Irving, and some and the success he's had. They talk about what he did in the program and how I would do great things as well.


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