Roy Williams Talking Weekly With Tatum

Coaches flock to St. Louis (Mo.) Chaminade Prep on almost a daily basis to see Jayson Tatum, the top-ranked player in the class of 2016. One, however, has been there more than all the others.

Roy Williams.

“It’s definitely something that helps them,” Tatum said. “He came two or three hours away and that means a lot because it’s not a quick trip.”

Over the past year, Williams has routinely visited the 6-foot-7, 190-pound forward and talks to Tatum about once per week. His last trip was in late September for an open gym session.

“I sat down and talked to him and Coach (Steve) Robinson,” said Tatum. “We talked for about an hour. They’re telling me that I’m a priority for them, that I’m at the top of their list. He (Williams) said he’d love the chance to coach me and he could help me get to the next level.”

Williams pointed to several players he’s coached in the NBA, ranging from Paul Pierce and Kirk Hinrich to Ty Lawson, Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Kendall Marshall.

“They have a great coach in Roy Williams and he’s done some pretty great things in the time he’s been there,” explained Tatum. “There’s a great tradition at the school and a great tradition of great players and winning there.”

During their conversations, Williams also brought up a player who isn’t in the NBA yet but, like Tatum, could be in a little less than three years.

“They mentioned Harry (Giles, the No. 2 player in the class of 2016) and they’re recruiting both of us,” Tatum said. “They said they’d put me in the wing position and I would rarely play in the post. He said he’s not recruiting Harry to get me or me to get him. They’re recruiting us separately, but they would love for both of us to go to their school.”

“Harry is one of my best friends,” he added. “We’ve become real close over the last year and we talk all the time.”

Over the last year Tatum has entertained the idea of making an unofficial trip to the state of North Carolina to visit both UNC and Duke. That now appears unlikely.

Throughout the season Chaminade is in several weekend-long tournaments. With his father, Justin Tatum, serving as a high school basketball coach at another local school, finding a free weekend is proving to be difficult.

However, three years ago the NCAA began allowing players to take official visits beginning on Jan. 1 of their junior year.

“I think we will take advantage of that,” Justin Tatum said of official visits. “We’ve been looking at some of the schedules and games and schools he wants to see like your UNC’s and Duke’s. Some of the games on his schedule with shootouts and tournaments on the weekends are going to make (unofficial visits) pretty tough.”

Basketball practice in Missouri begins on Nov. 3. When it starts, Tatum will have a few tricks in his offensive arsenal.

“I’ve been working on my post game and some post moves,” he said. “I look at players like Jabari Parker, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant. I’m just trying to be a more complete player, especially on the offensive end and being able to score.”

Earlier this fall, Tatum cut his list to 10 – Arizona, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, St. Louis, UConn, and Wake Forest.

His only recent visits are a football game at Missouri and Kansas’s 'Late Night' event last weekend.

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