Are you ready for the third EYBL session this weekend?
Tremont Waters: I’m feeling good, to me it’s just another session, it’s just all about playing hard and running my team and making the Peach Jam. Playing with Expressions overall everyone is gelling and are playing together. I really like playing with this group of guys, they are pretty much letting me run the show and leading them to wins.
Let’s talk you “running the show” as the lead guard, how would you describe your style of play at this point?
I like to get in the open court and make my teammates better. If that means coming off a ball screen and either hitting the open man or taking my shot, I just look to make the right play in the moment. I’m definitely a lead guard I would say who looks to pass first and get my teammates involved while also looking to score to help but not mainly just looking to score, I’m looking to make my teammates better.
Are there guys in college or the pros that you can point to and say, “I do some similar things to that player”?
I would have to say Kyrie Irving and Steph Curry. I think I’m crafty like Kyrie Irving, he just pretty much gets to the basket whenever he wants. At the college level I would say Tyler Ulis is a great example because he’s my size, he’s a lead guard, he scores when he needs to and he also helps out his teammates to get better all around.
Is Kyrie a guy you’ve been watching for awhile? Do you have any kind of relationship with him?
I’ve been watching him for a long time but I do not know him personally. I’ve always been compared to him with my style of play, I’m quick up and down the court and I’m crafty and I can shoot the ball, so I’ve been compared to him since like 7th grade.
What made you want to look up to him in the way you do?
I didn’t want him too much in high school, but I tried to watch him for sure in college even though he didn’t get to play a lot, but ever since he’s been in the NBA, I’ve been watching him a lot and seeing how he plays because he helps me see I could play in the NBA one day, I try to translate things from his game to my game.
With your game improving the way that it has, what’s it been like for you handling all the increased recruiting attention that’s come your way?
All the recruiting stuff… I would have to say it’s a blessing and I’m just going to look at each program that’s recruiting me the most, that’s who I’m going to look at the most. Every program that comes in the door, I’ll take a look at them, but if a program comes in for one game or one day and doesn’t come back the next, I’m not going to look at them as much. Also I just try to look at who else they are recruiting.
Which programs have you and your dad noticed who are giving that sustained type of recruiting effort in your recruitment?
We haven’t really picked the top 5 or anything like that, there’s a lot of them at all my games, but there’s some that I see a lot and there’s some that I see here and there, but most of them are at my games.
How different does your recruitment look at this point when compared to six months to a year ago?
Yeah’s there been a lot of new schools that have come into the picture in the last six months to a year, for sure. That includes Virginia, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, and I’ve heard a little bit from Michigan and Indiana a lot as well. Also Stanford.
With that list of programs you just named, have you heard a fairly similar pitch from all of them, or have they said different things to you depending on the school?
From school to school I would say all of them say similar things to a certain degree, but there are some differences. Like each school is different. Like say with Kentucky, they have a lead point guard but they feel I’d be able to come in and lead the show if I went there, or Indiana, Yogi Ferrell won’t be there so I could pretty much come in and run the show. Duke they have a point guard but they have more of an open system where their two guard and everybody else can bring the ball up, so that’s how their school does it.
That sounds like you perceive there’s going to be a difference in role depending on what school you are looking at going to—that a good read?
Yeah pretty much it’s going to matter based on what their style of play is. It’s going to take time with me watching them play to get a feel for that, I’ll just have to take that time to watch them and not just listen to what they are trying to tell me to see how I would fit in with their guards. Pretty much we’ve already dvr’d everything like with Duke, Kentucky, and a lot of the schools so we can watch them play. I try to watch all of those teams equally.
Are there any schools that you feel at this point that you like how they run their offense and how they utilize their guards?
I would have to say right now that I’m still figuring things out but it’s more important for them to see me in how I play and run things so they can see how I fit into their system with how I run my team.
So there was a report that Duke offered you a scholarship awhile back, how did they present it?
Yes, they have. I was at school and my dad was there and they pretty much sat down with my dad and I, it was Coach Jon Scheyer and Coach Capel and they pretty much just said they really thought I would fit in well with them and they could visualize me in their system and pretty much running the team. Then with the offer, they FaceTime’d Coach K because he wasn’t able to be there in person at the time and he told he really wanted me to be a part of their program.
What was your reaction?
It was a dream come true to have one of the top colleges really in the world offer me a scholarship, it was a dream come true pretty much. I’m just trying to see what school fits me best so I can get a free education.
What kind of specifics did Coach Scheyer and Coach Capel give you when talking about how they visualized you being a part of the Duke program?
They talked about the point guard role and how they have a guy in Frank Jackson, they don’t view him as a lead type guard but even if he was there, I’d pretty much play at the same time as him and if he wasn’t on the court, I’d pretty much run the lead guard spot. They pretty much rolled the carpet out and told me I could come in there and here’s the keys to the car and I could run with it.
How did you react to that?
Like I said before, it’s a dream come true because I didn’t start out playing basketball looking at one specific team, I played knowing that I put my all into it and growing up I would hear about all these bigtime schools like Duke and Kentucky and others, so it’s cool to hear that.
Have you noticed a change either in your feelings towards Duke or your questions for them since they have offered you from before they offered?
I would say after the offer I felt the same because like before they offered me, we were just in the recruiting process and they had come to a few of my games and were showing normal interest. I would have to say yes it was surprising when the offer came especially when the offer came. It was the last day of the period where they could go out and talk to recruits, it was a nice feeling to get the offer. My dad has been taking his time to feel out all the programs, just listening to what they have to say and letting them come to him and us.
Mr. Waters can I follow up on that last response, what kind of questions have you been asking in your conversations with the college coaches recruiting Tremont?
Ed Waters, father of Tremont Waters: Just making sure that the guys who are recruiting him will be there when he gets there because sometimes things can change with coaches with that. We’re also looking at the other guys they are recruiting and what things do they see with Tremont and how does he fit into their program. I try to spend as much time as possible developing Tremont because you really do need to keep getting better and keep developing, even if you get a scholarship offer. It’s about getting better at this stage and getting his team to Peach Jam, Tremont has to learn his personnel and he has to learn his game better.
So with that development process, if a college is recruiting Tremont to be a combo lead guard who has scoring responsibilities and who also runs point some, is that a big deal for you guys versus if a program is recruiting Tremont to run the show from the point guard spot for them in their program?
Ed Waters: The way my wife and I raised Tremont, we raised him to be a good person, so for a point guard, a traditional true point guard—you have to want to see other people happy because to me a combo guard is not a stretch for him because he can play off the ball and can make you pay from the perimeter or if you close out bad, he can make you pay be penetrating into the lane and attacking the gaps. So playing the two guard or the combo guard is not a stretch, but being raised the way he was, he was raised to be a pass-first guard, so for me in preparing him for the next level, we’re preparing him to be that leader who gets his guys involved and making the right play.
So for Tremont in college, do you think it makes sense for him to go into a program if that program is recruiting another either lead/point guard or combo guard from the same class?
Ed Waters: Well I think colleges recruit multiple kids, almost every program recruits multiple kids at every position. I’ve taught my son that you have to earn your minutes. If you look at schools now, it never hurts to have two guards who can handle the ball and bring it up on the floor. It’s really important to have that chemistry with other guys who really want to win. I don’t think it’ll hurt if they bring in another guard because they will learn from each other and he’s gotta earn his minutes and role. Villanova played this year with two guards, so I think the game is really changing in my own personal opinion. I don’t think it’s a negative from a development perspective. It will come down to the program and the coaches and their development plan for Tremont.
Are you guys at the active planning stages yet for any visits?
Ed Waters: I think we’ve got a ways to go with that because as these programs evaluate Tremont over the next month to two months, then we’ll see who gets really serious with him and who he gets comfortable with. So towards the middle to end of June is when it’ll be time to really sit down and narrow things down. I would love to see if any programs really step up and say, we’re targeting this guy at this spot, this guy at this spot and we want Tremont to come in as that last piece.
Do you think Tremont needs to take all five available official visits once you guys figure out where they will be to, or is it a better situation for his decision-making process to take one at a time and see where he’s at relative to a decision?
Ed Waters: If we do multiple visits we’ll probably want them to be fairly close together because you really don’t want them to be so far apart that you forget the first visit that you talk.
Do you guys have a sense yet on whether it’s better for Tremont to sign in the early or late signing periods?
Ed Waters: I don’t want to say one or the other because we just don’t know yet. Like I said, if we got approached by a program and they said, “we really, really want him, what do you want to do ?” If that happens and if there’s a really good feeling with that coach, then we might look at that because then that would allow him to really focus in his senior year just on developing. Being excited about the journey which is really about his development is what helped us get through the battles of just working hard to do that. The journey to keep improving is what really matters.