MDAA: One on one with Jayson Tatum

CHICAGO -- The McDonald's All-American Game was yet another special moment in a special senior season for Duke commit Jayson Tatum as the native of St. Louis is starting to prepare for the start of his college basketball career.

CHICAGO -- The McDonald's All-American Game was yet another special moment in a special senior season for Duke commit Jayson Tatum as the native of St. Louis is starting to prepare for the start of his college basketball career.
The 6-foot-8 Tatum was one of the marquee players that people wanted to see during the McDonald's week practices because he's still in contention for the No. 1 spot in the Class of 2016. In the McDonald's All-American Game on Wednesday, Tatum finished with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists on 5-for-15 shooting. Although Tatum struggled a bit from the field, he did a great job of getting to the free-throw line and converting, going 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. 
Now that the week is complete, Tatum is happy to have been a part of such a prestigious game.
"It's truly an honor. I've had a lot of fun out here," Tatum told TDD. "From practice to the Ronald McDonald House to the museums and being in the place that Michael Jordan built is a great experience."
With a lot of NBA scouts in attendance to watch the top high school players in the country, Tatum was one of the players that many wanted to get a good look at. Even though he knew coming in that he would receive a lot of outside attention, Tatum was focused on competing against the other players in practice and not worrying about the perception.

"A lot of guys are here competing hard and I love that. I think that you have to come out here and compete if you want to prove that you belong and that you're one of the best in the country. You have to really come out here and compete to show that you belong."
Tatum has always been known as a worker in his spare time and you can see that he's continually adding to his already advanced offensive repertoire. The goal for him now is the continue to work on other aspects of his game so he's a more well-rounded threat.
"Just being more consistent, especially on my long-range jump shot," Tatum said of his recent workout focus. "I think I kind of have mid-range down. Just being more consistent on 3s would help my game a lot."
While Tatum continues to work on his skill level, now that his senior season is done at Chaminade, he's also working on getting stronger for the college game.
"I'm really just trying to get in the weight room," Tatum said. "College is different animal compared to high school and you really have to change the physical aspect to get ready for college."
It will also help Tatum that he's getting to Durham very quickly as he already has the date that he's scheduled to arrive on campus. 
"I actually go out there May 18. I get out there quickly," Tatum said. "I can't wait to leave. I don't know exactly what classes I'm taking but I'm definitely doing summer school and then working out the entire summer."
But before Tatum moves to Durham for next season, he's trying to work on five-star center Marques Bolden, who will be playing alongside him the next few weeks in various senior all-star settings. Bolden is still deciding between Duke and Kentucky and Tatum is hoping the talented low-post scorer will join a talented Duke class.
"[I've told Marques] just to come be special with us with the class that we have," Tatum said. "There's no better coach to play for, in my eyes, than Coach K. Duke is a great program with five national championships and we'd love to have him."
Over the next few weeks, Tatum will compete in the Nike Hoop Summit as well as the Jordan Brand Classic as he continues to battle for one of the top spots in a loaded Class of 2016.  

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