Tyus Jones taks AAU & college decision

It's been a big summer for the nation's top point guard, Tyus Jones. After dominating the Nike EYBL, Jones moved on to finish out his AAU career with a National Championship. Next up will be the college decision, which Jones spoke with TDD this weekend in an extensive one on one setting.

Being an AAU National Champion now, what does that mean to you Tyus?

Tyus Jones: It means a lot. There were a lot of tough teams down there and we wanted to finish the summer off strong, Peach Jam didn't go as well as we had planned or that we would have liked for it to go, so we really wanted to come back strong for Nationals, and then play well. Personally for myself, with this being my last AAU event ever, I really wanted to go all out and to come out with the win, so that was great to experience.

Being a gold medal winner and now an AAU Champion, how different do they feel for you?

You know, winning the gold medal, that's definitely a high point. USA Basketball, it means a lot, you represent your whole country. Winning down in Florida for Nationals means a lot too because you are playing the best teams in the country, we played Each 1 Teach 1 in the finals and beat them after they had beat us at Peach Jam, so they compare somewhat but they are different at the same time.

What's your favorite memory of playing with Howard Pulley AAU?

Definitely, just the time with the family and the guys, we definitely became brothers on and off the court, so the off the court stuff as a team is one of the memories I made. Definitely also the Peach Jam experiences, it's by far the best tournament in the country, everybody who has been there knows what I'm talking about, I would definitely say those are the top memories for me.

Moving towards college now, what do you think is the aspect of your game that is going to translate the best to that new level?

I think my basketball IQ part, being a complete PG, knowing how to run the team, knowing time of possession, trying to find a way to score, change of speeds, I think my style of play is based on changing speeds, I think hopefully I'll be able to transition my game to college well.

A lot of fans are curious what the expectation is for you with college of how long you plan to stay, what's the thought process there?

You know really, myself and my family's approach is you just have to wait and see, you can't go into it expecting one thing because you don't know what to expect because you haven't played at that level yet. We go into it with an open mind, and we just want to have a successful college career, so whether that means  one year or two or four years, we go into it with an open mind and after each year, see where I'm at.

What constitutes a "successful year" in your mind ? Is it more overall team success or personal development related?

For me, the team always comes first, you have to see how far you can get into the tournament. As far as looking to go to the next level after that, that would become professional success, you could have good team success but if you aren't ready personally for the next level, you can't force it or try to rush.

Having gone through the recruiting process for several years now, what kind of advice would you give to a young, up and coming player starting to get recruited at a high level?

You have to control it and to know what you want and how you want to handle it. It's important not to get caught up in it, and don't let it weigh you down because it can be a lot, and it can get stressful. I say control it early and just be yourself.

Who has given you the best piece of advice on how to handle the recruiting process?

I'd say both my parents, my mother and my father because they are both my role models. They both want the best for me and they are there for me and they support me in whatever I want to do. Also my older brother, he's played a big role in it, when he was in high school, he went through this, those three have had a major influence on me.

After the official visits are all done and you sit down with your family to discuss your decision, what do you think will be the big topics of discussion that you work through?

A lot of stuff, a lot of little stuff, ultimately it will be the overall feel, where am I most comfortable at because you want to fit in, you want to feel comfortable on campus, with the coaches and the players because that's where you are going to live. There's a lot of small stuff that will go into it, different stuff on campus, there's a lot that goes into it.

In those discussions with the family, are you going to be bringing your own opinions and seeking confirmation from them, or will it be more you asking questions about how they feel and figuring out based on their input how you feel about schools?

I'll have my own input into it, but I'll definitely talk with my family and see how they feel and what they see just because my family, I have a great trust in them and they all want the best for me and their opinions matter to me. We'll all be talking about it and it's just really going to be making the decision that's best for me and my family.

When it gets down to evaluating the schools, do you think you and Jahlil [Okafor] are going to be want to be together in person with your families for those discussions or will it be a separate process for both of you?

It'll be me and Jahlil will definitely talk about it, but I don't know if our families will be all together for that. We've definitely been talking about colleges a lot together, so we're still going to approach it like that, but I don't know if we're going to be together, or over the phone, or what we'll do.

It sounds like there's some different media options to be potentially present when you guys are going through the family discussions and then at the announcement, what's your thought process towards the media options available for those parts of your process?

We've talked about it a little bit, we have to come to a decision whether we want to have that or not, but it's definitely an option because it's a once in a lifetime thing and so we might do it, but we haven't decided yet.

Are there pros and cons in your mind to having media present versus not having them there when you are having those discussions or is it more just an opportunity to examine whether you want to or not?

Having the media there, it makes it memorable to make it a big event, it's a good experience for me and my family. Not having media there just makes it very simple, very basic, it's just easier on me and my family, it's just easier to focus in and get the decision out of the way.

Knowing that schools will roll out the red carpet for you on the officials, what do you hope to learn about the schools that you don't know yet?

Just learning small stuff about the schools, that's really what we're looking for now about the schools, I've been to all the schools unofficially, it's just to get a better feel overall and see where I'm most comfortable at.

Do you go into each visit with unique questions about the schools and life as a student-athlete at each place, or do you go in with the same questions—regardless of what school you are visiting?

There's some similar questions you ask and there's some different, since I've been unofficially before, there's some questions that have been answered.  I'm just going in open-minded and I think there's questions that get brought up while you are on campus. I don't think I have any unanswered questions off the top my head, all the questions I've had before I've made sure to ask the coaches about that, so none on top of my head. Once we get on campus I'm sure there will be some questions come up.

Some players go into official visits with an open mind that a commitment might happen while they are on campus depending on how they feel and others go in with the firm commitment to not commit while they are on any campus until after they've visited all the schools—where do you fall in that spectrum?

I think I kinda fall into the I'm going to wait, I really want to see all the schools again. I'll probably take my time and take all 5 of my visits. I'm more prone to wait and to play it all out.

In closing, much has been said about Duke's recruitment of you including some have said that you are Coach K's guy-his main priority—what does that mean to you when you hear that?

It's a good feeling just because it's always good to know you are a priority, he has definitely made me a priority throughout the whole recruiting process, so it's a good feeling just to know that they really want you bad and that you are a priority to them.

What's your observations from a recruit perspective of being Coach K's "guy" in the recruiting process-can you shed some light on what that actually means?

I've observed he's been to a good amount of our games during the AAU season, high school season, he's come and visited a few times and also during the home visit with the staff up here, we had a good home visit with them, it's just small stuff like that that you see that they have made an effort to show that they have made you a priority. 

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