The 2015 recruiting cycle is winding down, but SMU is still active on the recruiting trail looking to fill two more spots for next season. One target the coaches have kept their eye on for a couple months is Putnam City West (Okla.) wing Tyson Jolly. Jolly cut his list to five schools, and SMU is squarely in the mix.
“I like the coach and I like the way they play,” Jolly said. “It’s close to home, and I have family there in Texas. I have a friend who I grew up with who’s going there to play football, Keaton Bates. It’s a good opportunity to play for the coach who coached Allen Iverson.”
Jolly also included Gonzaga, California, Minnesota and UTEP in his top five. The Bulldogs and Golden Bears have each put on a big push to land his services, and he’s highly interested in both. He praised Gonzaga coach Mark Few and his winning culture.
“Gonzaga, I like coach Mark Few,” Jolly said. “They’ve got a winning coach and a winning program. They’re only getting better. He’s [developed] a lot of people under the radar, like Kevin Pangos. And he’s got two good 7-footers coming back.
California jumped in the process a bit later, but it has had Jolly’s attention for a couple years.
“Cal, I like coach (Cuonzo) Martin and coach Jonny (Harris). I’ve been watching Cal for a while since they had Justin Cobbs and Allen Crabbe. I like the way they play, you get up a lot of shots in their offense, and they defense too. They play like my high school team.”
Jolly isn’t as familiar with Minnesota, but talks to head coach Richard Pitino regularly.
“I haven’t watched Minnesota a lot, but I talk to the coaches a lot,” Jolly said. “The way they explain it, and the mail they sent me, I can just see myself fitting into what they do.”
Lastly, Jolly is attracted to UTEP head coach Tim Floyd’s NBA background.
“I like coach Tim Floyd too, plus I have a friend that goes there, Omega Harris,” Jolly said. “I played in high school with him for three years. I like the way they play too, they put up shots and they defend. Plus, coach Floyd has a lot of connections. He can help put me in the league.”
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard has not visited any of the schools yet, but said he is taking his visits over the next month before making a late April or early May decision. He said he doesn’t have a favorite yet, but said he has the best relationship with the California and Gonzaga coaches.
Jolly planned to take a visit to SMU for the Feb. 5 game against Cincinnati, which was shortly after he was offered, but he said it fell through due to probation.
“I guess they’re on probation, so when I was hoping to go there for a visit, they said they couldn’t pay for anything because of probation,” Jolly said. “Right before they went on probation, coach Brown came and told me all about it. After he left, he thought I would be able to make that game, but then I couldn’t, and they couldn’t talk to me anymore. So they’ve been calling my high school coach and letting him know they’re still interested and still want me to come visit.”
Despite the troubles, Jolly said SMU has told his coach that his offer is committable.
“They told my coach that they still want me, and as soon as they get off probation they’re going to set up a visit, because they want me to come down there,” Jolly said.
Jolly said that SMU has told his coach it should hear about a probation ruling in a week or two.
Putnam City went 25-3 and made a deep playoff run that included knocking off SMU signee Shake Milton’s Owasso High School. Jolly said it was one of his best seasons yet.
“It went good, we went to the state semifinals,” Jolly said. “We lost to Edmond Santa Fe. I played well; this was one of my best seasons, being able to play guard. I averaged 20 points on eight shots (per game).”