Duke Freshman Tyus Jones Looking for Third Gold Medal, Teaching Subtleties of the Point to Isaiah Briscoe | Zagsblog
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Thursday / June 20.
  • Duke Freshman Tyus Jones Looking for Third Gold Medal, Teaching Subtleties of the Point to Isaiah Briscoe

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    tyusAt this point, incoming Duke freshman point guard Tyus Jones is the grizzled old veteran of USA Basketball.

    At the age of 18.

    The 6-foot-1 Apple Valley, MN native has already won gold medals at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship and the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.

    When the FIBA Americas U18 World Championship begins Friday in Colorado Springs, CO, Jones will be in pursuit of his third gold in the last four years.

    “I’m a little bit used to it,” Jones told SNY.tv by phone. “My goal in this one obviously is to win a gold medal and trying to be the best leader I can and the ultimate goal is to win the gold medal.”

    Jones is one of three Duke commits on the 12-man roster, along with 6-6 freshman wing Justise Winslow and 6-5 2015 commit Luke Kennard. (Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor, who was a package deal to Duke with Jones, is too old for the roster.)

    It can only help Duke going forward that Jones and Winslow are paired together this summer.

    “I think it’s helping us a lot,” Jones said. “Anytime you get to play with each other, your chemistry builds so I think that’s helping us a lot prior to getting on campus.”

    He added: “Just the feel of spacing, timing and stuff like that. The more you play with each other, the more comfortable you get.”

    Jones is also impressed with Kennard, who committed to Duke prior to his senior year at Franklin (OH) High.

    “He’ really a smart player,” Jones said of Kennard. “A sharpshooter who can knock it down from anwhere on the court. Really just knows the game, knows spacing. Really just a high IQ type player.”

    Duke was unceremoniously bounced from the NCAA Tournament by Mercer in the second round last year, and Jones said he, Winslow, Okafor and everyone else associated with the program will use that as motivation this coming season — when Kentucky figures to be the consensus preseason No. 1.

    “I think that’s definitely some motivation, us getting knocked out early,” Jones said. “That definitely makes the guys coming back hungry and it makes us hungry and ready to work when we goet on campus. We’re going to try to have a  successful season and the main goal is to win.”

    BriscoeJones is one of three point guards on the U18 roster, along with 2015 Roselle (N.J.) Catholic floor general Isaiah Briscoe and Jalen Brunson of Lincolnshire (IL) Adlai Stevenson. Both players are uncommitted for college.

    Asked about Briscoe, Jones said, “He’s a very talented guard. He knows the game. Really crafty, has different ways of getting in the lanes. Different ways of getting around people.”

    Jones said Briscoe has been picking his brain and asking him how to get better.

    ‘If I see something that can help his game out that he may not see or recognize, I’ll pull him aside and talk to him about and he’s very open to talking about it, so that’s great,” Jones said.

    “We have a really good relationship, we talk a lot.”

    Said the 6-3 Briscoe: “Tyus is teaching me a lot from the point guard standpoint on how to pick your spots, when to go and not to go, trusting your teammates and knowing your personnel. He is a great player.”

    Briscoe said he’s also learning from Winslow and Arizona freshman Stanley Johnson “how to compete not only in the game but in practice. So going hard in practice every day against those players can only get me better.”

    Roselle Catholic will be among the favorites to win the New Jersey Tournament of Champions titles this year, and this experience should only help Briscoe, who plans to cut his college list to eight later this month.

    Together, Jones and Briscoe are looking to win gold.

    It would be a first for Briscoe and a three-peat (of sorts) for Jones.

    Photos: USA Basketball

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.

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