Debbie Jones, mother of Tyus Jones: It feels great (haha). It's nice to have the decision made and the announcement and to know the plan kinda moving forward.
During the family discussions leading up to Tyus's decision, what kind of input were you lending to the discussions as they examined the various schools?
You know, we talked about everything involved with all the schools and we definitely compared everything. It really got down to what was the best fit and I think, having everything else and openly discussing his comfort level and knowing everything about the schools, he just thought the best fit was Duke and that included basketball wise, staff wise, school wise, really just everything. You have to take everything into consideration.
A lot of Duke fans were really curious on how much of an impact did Duke having the last official visit have on the recruitment, from your standpoint, did the last official visit play a big role in the final deliberations?
Well, we had been there unofficially and we had met everybody and we had seen almost everything, so really we knew going in most of the information which allowed us to get even more detailed during the official visit. From our opinion, it was very beneficial for us to have done the unofficial visits first so that in the official visits, you could really get much more in depth than you could during the unofficials. For us, we actually went everywhere unofficially so that we could go more in depth during the official visits and for us, that was huge. It was just, I don't know how to express it, it was just a great experience.
During the process you mentioned having many discussions with Jahlil's and Justise's parents as you were working on visits and the like. I'm curious, what kind of conversations did you have, parent to parent with them in terms of the different colleges that were recruiting your sons?
You know, because I have become so close with Chuck and Robin, we talked a lot about different things. Not only did we unofficially go and officially go on visits together, but we also saw each other a great deal during the spring and summer on the Nike EYBL Circuit. Like we had people over at our house when the EYBL Circuit was in Minneapolis, so we were able to have numerous discussions as this whole process played out. I think that was very beneficial and obviously the kids talked all the time and still talk all the time, so you know, I don't know if it was me coordinating things, it's just how things happened and we would constantly text each other back and forth asking about different weekends to see what worked and what didn't. It just seemed to come together very easily.
With that dialogue you mentioned having about the various schools and how you guys felt about them, I'm curious, with the Duke interest, for you as parents, was it really strong right from the start, or was it something that progressed over time?
Well, Duke doesn't just recruit everybody, so anytime they recruit my son, that's a pretty big deal, so that interest right from the beginning was pretty strong. But when you go through the whole process and the other schools were extremely good schools, I just think that, it did make a difference, but at the same time you still have to look at all the other options and gather all the information on everything so that you can make that right decision for yourself by taking into account every bit of the information you have on each of the schools.
Coming out of the Duke official visit, what were the conversations centering around with you as parents as your sons had their discussions that led to the decision?
You always talk from a basketball standpoint, where are they going to be able to go to improve, be the best, not only as a basketball player but also as a person, just life in general. After we kinda weighed everything, it just kinda became apparent that the right fit was Duke.
Switching gears a bit, as a mom, what did you think of that Chicago Magazine article where Jahlil really opened up about his feelings about his mom-what did that mean to you to read that?
My heart went out to him, we knew the story somewhat, but for him to open up and go that in-depth, it was touching. It makes you step back and say wow, you just don't know what kids are going through. For him to come out and tell the whole story, I just thought it was extremely good, and the article was very, very touching.
As a parent, do you notice a big difference with the kids now that their recruiting process is over and they are signed with Duke?
You know, I think it feels different just because now, with the announcement out there and they know where they are going, and they can openly talk and express whereas before, not knowing, they weren't sure and all these discussions were happening behind the scenes, now that the decision is finally out there, I think it's just a relief and a good feeling that now you can just openly cheer and openly express and openly feel comfortable that your decision is out there.
You showed an example of that openness it seems the other night with your tweet about the Duke Football team, what were your thoughts on the game?
Oh yes absolutely, my heart goes out to them because I really thought they were going to hold on, I just really think they played so well. Things like that are fun to be able to do out in the open.
Duke's known for the family involvement of parents of current and former players' and their families, have you had opportunity to engage with any of them since the commitment?
You know, we were able to meet some of the parents when we were down there for visits, but I don't know them like I know Chuck and Robin like that, but we're all together and they seem like they are a great group and that part of it is going to be really fun to be involved with. We don't know anybody yet like we know Chuck and Robin yet, but we're looking forward to that.
One of the other things you hear is how involved Coach K's wife and daughters are in the program, is there any examples you can share of your interactions with them?
Oh yes, absolutely, that was a big thing on our unofficial visit, being on campus and seeing them around and giving us an opportunity to meet them and talk with them. That's one of the things you hear from them is how big they are on family, and it's fun to see Coach K's family be as actively involved as they are, at the highest level. That said a lot to me.
What are you most looking forward to in seeing Tyus be a Duke student-athlete?
Oh gosh, just being a part of the whole Duke family, from a basketball standpoint, I can't wait to see him develop and grow and keep maturing and getting better. I also look forward to hopefully getting to as many home and away games as I possibly can, and just being around the whole Duke atmosphere, we're all looking forward to it.