Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
One of the top players in the nation regardless of class, Jayson Tatum cut his list down to 10 schools in September, but he says that six are currently showing the most interest.
“Arizona, Saint Louis, Illinois, Duke, Kentucky and Missouri are showing the most interest right now,” the 6-foot-8 2016 shooting guard from St. Louis Chaminade told SNY.tv Monday.
Kentucky coach [John] Calipari, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg and Arkansas coach Mike Anderson watched Tatum on Saturday, when Chaminade (Mo.) played against Malik Monk and Bentonville (Ark.). Tatum says that Kentucky is in a good position.
“They’re pretty high on my list,” Tatum said. “I have a great relationship with Coach Cal and Coach [Kenny] Payne, I have a lot of interest in Kentucky. [Coach Cal] talked to my mom on the phone after the game because he had to leave, but he’s said he wants to coach me and he could develop my game, and help me get better.”
With all of the talk about the platoons in Lexington, Tatum said that he would be receptive to playing in a system like what Kentucky is running.
“It’s something new,” Tatum said. “You can’t argue with it, especially because they’re winning. Kids like to win, and that’s the best for the team.”
Kansas, Wake Forest, UNC and Duke are the only schools to offer the trio of Tatum, Harry Giles and Dennis Smith Jr., That group has discussed a big package deal.
But of that group Tatum said Duke and Kentucky are working the hardest for him. Three coaches from Duke have been in touch.
“I talk to Coach [Jon] Scheyer the most,” Tatum said. “I talk to Coach K and Coach [Jeff ]Capel, too. They said that I fit very well into their system. They said they’d like me to have the ball in my hands if I went to Duke, because they feel like I make plays when that happens.”
Tatum says that right now, while the possibility is in the air for Giles, Smith Jr., and him to attend school together, it’s not something that they are focusing on at the moment.
“That’s probably going to be something that we’ll discuss when the time comes,” Tatum said. “Only two schools are recruiting all three of us, it doesn’t play too much of a part, because I like the other schools.”
Meantime, Missouri and Saint Louis are paying close attention and showing a lot of interest, and Tatum says both are fully in the equation.
“I have very high interest in those two schools as well,” Tatum said. “They’ve been interested in me since the eighth grade, so they were two of the first schools to look at me.”
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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.