Q&A with Jayson Tatum

HAMPTON, Va. --- Jayson Tatum made a strong case this weekend for the No. 1 ranking in the 2016 class. He spoke at length about his recruitment and his game ...

What schools have been on you the hardest recently?

Most recent schools I've heard from are Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina. I've heard from SLU, Kansas, Michigan State, Florida, Illinois.

Which schools have you visited unofficially so far?

I've visited Mizzou, SLU, Kansas, Michigan State, Kentucky, Illinois, as well as Memphis.

Do you have any visits coming up that you know of?

The Kansas team camp in June, but I don't have any unofficial dates set. Just whenever I have a chance to go to the schools I haven't been to yet.

You're obviously going to be able to go wherever you want. Paint the picture of what the perfect situation is for you on the college level.

The perfect situation is wherever the coaching staff is that I have the best relationship with. Because if I do go away from home – if I don't go to a SLU or Mizzou – then I need to feel comfortable being away from home.

What will coaches have to do to develop that level of comfort with you?

We need to be able to talk and trust each other – have that ability to be able to communicate.

There's starting to be some whispers that you may be tough to get out of your immediate area – do you agree with that assessment?

Not at all, I'm open to any school from any location in the country.

When you look at Carolina, what is appealing to you?

I look at the history and the great players that been through there, like Vince Carter and Michael Jordan. Coach Roy Williams has done a great job.

Where would you see yourself fitting in if you were on that team?

Wherever Coach Roy feels like I can be out there to help the team.

And with Duke, same question …

They're basically like a North Carolina, one of those big historic schools with great coaches and history of winning.

When you look at Carolina and Duke, what do you notice in terms of the difference in their styles of play?

I watched Duke play a lot more this year because they were on TV more and had Jabari. Just the way they move the ball and let their players be able to be themselves in the flow of the offense … You need structure but you also need to be able to showcase what you can do while in the team concept.

When was the last time you had a conversation with Roy Williams?

It'd probably be around the end of the basketball season, he came to a game and I talked to him after that … He was just telling me how my game had improved since he last saw me play in the summer and how much he loves to watch me play.

Would it be a disappointment if you're not one and done?

Yeah, that's what I set my dreams and goals for – to be a one-and-done player and go to the NBA.

When you're looking at schools, with the idea of being a one-and-done player, are you evaluating them as a one and done system for you?

Just how their coach prepares each and every player to reach their goal, if they have the potential of going to the NBA.

Do you feel like you need to go to a school that has had a one-and-done player?

No, I don't feel like that. It's just all based on how the player, coach get alone and how your work ethic is.

Who will ultimately be involved with helping you reach a decision?

Really just my father and my mom. Those two will help me through the process and make that tough decision.

Did you have a dream school growing up?

When I was younger Ohio State was my dream school. … They're still on my list with everybody else. They were just my favorite because they had Greg Oden, Mike Conley and Evan Turner – those were my favorite guys growing up.

Are you going to go with USA Basketball again this summer?

Yeah, in July, right after Peach Jam.

Can you talk about the relationship you've built with the players on the USA squad? That seems to be a group that's really tight.

Playing against each other on the circuit, it then really got tighter as we bonded on the planes, bus rides, and with practice and stuff.

Which of those guys do you talk with the most?

It'd probably be Harry Giles and V.J. King … (Harry and I) grew up from the same kind of home and we have a lot in common.

Are you and Harry still talking about playing college ball together?

It's a strong possibility, not officially yet, but we talk often on the phone and things like that. We talk about how fun and exciting it'd be to be with each other in college.

Does that mean you have looked at the overlap in your school lists?

Yeah, we look at schools that have offered or have interest in both of us.

Do you know which those schools are?

Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, I think Ohio State, I don't know the others off the top of my head.

Since you're working on your post game and your guard skills, which part of your game is more developed right now?

I've always been able to play the guard position, so I'm really focusing on being able to post up guys in the paint.

Last year you ran point with the 16U team. This weekend you're playing a lot at the wing positions, hitting a lot of shots from the perimeter.

We added a few more guards, so I let them bring it up and run the plays and I get to move to a more natural position.

Did you have that jumpshot last year?

It's something that's improved in my game that I've been working on.

Your ability to shoot, and create your shot, seems so advanced for your age.

There are still a lot of things I need to work on, and tighten up. I can always get better at my game.

Who works with you on that?

My trainers in St. Louis. My mom rebounds for me sometimes, and my dad. … My mom has been there since Day 1, she knows a lot about basketball.

Would you say your versatility is the strongest part of your game?

That's what I hear the most when people describe me.

Last year you projected yourself as a college one, two or three – do you still see it that way?

Now it's probably anywhere from the two to the four. … Probably primarily the three, and then go to the four a little bit, and if we have bigger kids maybe the two.

Are you still growing?

The (doctors) said the shortest I'd probably be is 6-10 … The last time I talked to the doctor a year ago, he said the shortest I would be is 6-10 and the tallest I'd be is 7-1.

Did you ever try to pattern your game after anyone?

I always knew I'd be a big guard, so I liked watched big guards – old school like Magic Johnson, or now Kyle Anderson and Michael Carter Williams. My post game, I always really liked Kobe's work in the post.

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