EYBL Hampton: Jayson Tatum

One of the top prospects on the board and in the country at large is 6-foot-8 small forward Jayson Tatum. We sat down with the five star prospect at the EYBL event in Hampton, Va. to discuss his recruitment and much more.

How did it feel getting the win tonight in your evening game?

Jayson Tatum: It felt good, it was our 3rd game and we played easier in this game.

You made some recruiting news recently with the naming of your top four schools. You appeared to make that decision relatively earlier than other players of your stature…what for you were the reasons in wanting to finalize the list this early?

Really it’s because I know what I like in schools, and there’s no need for me to wait to the last second to make a decision like that.

Picking a top four appears to signify a deeper relationship with the coaching staffs from each of those programs. Can you share a breakdown of how different the styles are of the four programs you’re considering.

Well they obviously communicate more than the schools that I cut off my list, and I have a better relationship with not just the assistant coaches but the head coaches as well. They all tell me what I can improve on and what I’m good at and they talk about how they can help me get better.

How about coach to coach…for instance, how is Coach K different from say Coach Crews in how they communicate with you?

Coach K is more experienced, and he’s been coaching for a lot longer. And he’s been around a lot more better players. Coach Crews is relatively new to head coaching at his school, but he’s been recruiting me since I was a freshman, as well as Coach K. Coach K has the National Team as well, and he’s won several national championships.

How about with Coach Calipari and Coach Williams?

Coach Williams is kinda similar to Coach K in that they are in the same conference. He’s won a national championship as well. Coach Cal…it’s the same, he’s put guys in the NBA since he got to Kentucky. That’s the main thing that catches my eye.

How big is it for you seeing them show up at your games? In the grand scheme of things with your recruitment does that kind of stuff play a big role?

Yeah, it’s who shows the most interest, who makes the most effort to be there.

Going to a final four schools…was that a parent-driven decision or was that you just were ready to reduce the list?

That was my decision coming into the EYBL, I knew the coaches were coming to watch you and I really didn’t want to waste anybody’s time.

Overall with the recruiting process, how do you feel about the whole thing? Still enjoying it?

I like it a lot but I’m not going to wait longer than I need to. If I feel like I know where I want to go, I’ll make the decision.

“Longer than you need to”… can you elaborate on that a bit?

I just don’t know about the timing…it could be during the summertime, it could be before school is out. Sooner than later though.

With you having visited a variety of programs previously, do you consider it vital that you end up taking official visits to all four of those programs?

I really don’t know because I could take one and feel like that’s the place for me, or I could take all four, it just depends.

With the recent Duke in-home visit, can you recap the experience?

Their main message was just trying to show that they really want me to come to their school. They just won the national championship and it was cool seeing them come just three days later to spend some time with me.

Was that the first time you had been in contact with the Duke staff since the National Championship game?

No. I talked to them right after they won the game, I told them congratulations. Coach K talked to me after the game. It was super cool, he was really excited and him and his assistant coaches were asking me if I could see myself being in this position.

How much of a consideration is the potential depth chart at these schools?

Well, I know I’m capable but I also want to go to a team that can help me and I can help them with the talent we have to win games.

How much feedback are the coaches giving you on what’s happening with their recruiting efforts, especially with guys who play on the perimeter or wing?

Yeah they tell me who else they are recruiting. It’s not a concern for me though.

I know the question is will you and Harry Giles play together in college, what I’m curious about is what’s the feedback like between you two as you actually examine that?

It’s very serious. We talk of course about what schools are both recruiting us but we first both look at it from the perspective of what’s best for each of us so that if Harry feels like he likes one school that’s best for him and I like another that I feel is best for me, then we’ll go our separate ways but if we find a school that fits the both of us and that we feel like we both could do well at, then we could go there.

Do you or Harry feel like either of you needs to commit first so the other can see what’s going on before the other makes their commitment?

Maybe, but we don’t know yet.

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