COLORADO SPRINGS -- Jayson Tatum got the ball rolling in Duke's already-loaded Class of 2016 by committing back in July, and since then, Blue Devil fans have to be pleased that the St. Louis native has continued to work hard on his game to get better.
Despite coming off of a gold medal and the commitment to Duke this summer, Tatum was one of the top performers this past weekend at the USA Basketball junior national minicamp in Colorado Springs.
The 6-foot-8 is regarded as Scout.com's No. 3 overall prospect in a loaded Class of 2016, but he still wants to work hard and round out his game before entering college.
"I'm just trying to make my game more complete. I'm known as a guy who is smooth and has skill but not that explosive," Tatum told TDD. "So I'm just trying to get other things up to par and be the best player I can be."
Making his game more complete meant that Tatum worked on becoming better at attacking the basket and making plays at the rim on straight-line drives. Finishing at the rim with power, Tatum looked like he was stronger and able to absorb more contact near the basket and he looked better finishing this weekend.
The trip to USA Basketball also meant Tatum got to catch up with some former U19 teammates and future Duke teammate Frank Jackson. It also meant that Tatum could see good friend and Duke target Harry Giles.
"It's been a great experience being here. I have a lot of guys here who are close friends. You know, it only helps your game as a player. If you can excel out here, it shows a lot," Tatum said.
As one of the older players in the event, Tatum had a chance to reflect on what it was like to come through the USA Basketball pipeline and how things have changed for him over the years.
"It's very exciting. I remember my first training camp out here before I played in a high school game and we were all 14 and 15 and now we're 17 and 18 and on our way to college. It's just fun to see guys improve and get better," Tatum said.
Tatum's participation in last weekend's minicamp was important because he'll likely be one of the key pieces for the Nike Hoop Summit team later this spring. He also got to build some chemistry by playing a bit with Jackson and also working with Duke target Marques Bolden in other lineups.