One on one with Jayson Tatum

He was the first commit from the class of 2016 and remains the highest rated prospect in the year to have ended his recruitment. So what’s motivating five star prospect Jayson Tatum these days? We sat down with the future Blue Devil to get the latest.

How’s the camp been going for you?

Jayson Tatum: Yeah it’s been going really good, it’s been great to be here. 

You're a veteran of the USA Camp and program.  Accordingly, have you changed your approach to this event?

It’s been great to speak with the young kid, how they are playing and just trying to help them out as much as you can to improve. I try to help guys out with recruiting things as much as I can, I do get a lot of questions from young kids here and there, like with how to go about things, thinks like that. 

Which players have been reaching out to you with those questions?

Younger kids mainly like Wendell (Carter Jr.), I talk with him a lot, he’s a really good player. I also talk with Michael Porter a lot.

What kind of feedback have those two guys been seeking from you?

With Wendell he’s a great big man.  He asks me things about Duke a lot like he’ll ask me what led me to Duke and it’s the same thing with Michael too, he’ll ask me lots of questions. I try to tell them what I liked about Duke and why I decided to go there.

Did Wendell and Michael seek you out for that input?

That was about them coming to me.

How have they reacted to what you have shared with them so far?

They’ve asked me about what I liked about my visit, how does Coach K run practice, things like that. 

Speaking of your decision, what was it that got you to make such an early decision?

It’s what I wanted, I knew where I wanted to go. I just didn’t want to wait any longer, I wanted to get it out of the way.  Really, I didn’t want to waste anybody’s time, I wanted to get it out there and announce it and keep moving forward. 

How far in advance did you tell the Duke coaching staff that you were coming to commit to them when you did?

They were really excited to hear about that, I told them over the phone that I was going to commit that week to them at Peach Jam but I didn’t want them to tell anybody. I still wanted to announce it at Peach Jam. 

What were the family conversations centered around as you decided to commit to Duke?

The best fit for me, coaching staff, where I felt most comfortable. The visit really set it over the top. 

What was it about that visit?

Everything.  The campus, the players, the coaches with their experiences, watching practice and all that. Everything there caught my attention and I just loved it.

What kind of feedback did you get from the coaches as you and your family sat down with them during the official visit?

They were just excited to have me there, at the time Coach K was telling me that he would love to have the opportunity to coach me and how great it would be for me to be a part of the program. It was cool.

How much, if any, did you discuss with Harry (Giles) all your reasons about wanting to go to Duke?

I just told him how my visit went. He’s been to Duke before, he knows the coaches as well, there wasn’t too much new information.

Now that he’s moving towards his own decision—has he been seeking more input from you, or are you just giving him space with that?

I give him space, I don’t want to crowd him. I want him to make his own decision.

How have you seen the relationship with the Duke staff evolve since you became a commit instead of a recruit? 

It’s changed a little bit. They are giving me things to work on so I can be more prepared for Duke. They tell me to stay more aggressive, get stronger—stay in the weight room. Things like that. 

What’s their vision for you in the program in terms of what they envision asking you to do in the program and how they see themselves developing you while you are there?

Really it’s just to be myself and be a playmaker. He’s not going to hold me back at all, he’s going to let me be me within the flow of the offense. They just want me to go out there and be a basketball player. 

What are your thoughts on your class at Duke and how it’s shaping up?

I like both of the guys that we got. Frank’s a really good player, but I haven’t seen Javin yet, but I’m looking forward to building a relationship with them when we get to Duke. I’ve been talking with Marques Bolden a little bit, I don’t want to crowd him and ask him all the time where he wants to go, let him have space.

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