By JACK LeGWINSpecial to ZAGSBLOGSUWANEE, Ga. — The class of 2016 is loaded, and Jayson Tatum is proof of just that.
The 6-foot-6, 180-pound versatile freshman out of St. Louis (LA) Chaminade put up every stat in the book when he recorded 12 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals in a 65-25 win for St. Louis Eagles over West Georgia Elite at the Nike Memorial Classic.
A talented wing-guard who can contribute all over the floor, Tatum can run the point as well as playing all the way through the small forward position and he knows that his versatility is key in his development in the future.
“It really helps me a lot to be able to put a stat in every category to help my team win,” he told SNY.tv.
The biggest decision right now for Tatum at the moment is whether he will transfer to St. Louis CBC, where his father, Justin Tatum, was recently hired as the head coach, or to stay at Chaminade.
“I should be making my decision pretty soon,” he said. “It’s a decision that my parents and I have been discussing for a while, but the big part of the decision is finding out if I’d have to sit out a year.”
Tatum, who many believe is a top 5 player in the class of 2016, currently holds offers from Kentucky, Kansas, Missouri, Marquette, Illinois, Memphis, Florida and Saint Louis, but he says it was a privilege to get one from Kentucky.
“It was really cool,” Tatum said. “Coach Cal is like a celebrity, so just to talk to him, and to get that offer, I was really happy.”
If Tatum keeps improving, the amount of schools vying for his consideration will only continue to grow, and it will be completely deserved.
“Obviously he’s talented and has size,” ESPN National Recruiting Analyst Reggie Rankin recently told Slam. “But his skill level is so far developed at this stage. He can make plays usually kids his age are not that advanced to do. He’s got great size and a feel for the game, and ahead of his time for his grade. Being a 6-7 wing player, and versatile, will give him the opportunity to be a special player.
“He’s going to get even better with maturity and as he adds strength, so his upside is off the charts. I think he’s a lock high-major player. If I’m an assistant coach at an elite program, I’m offering that kid based on what I know right away.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.