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.
2016 Star Jayson Tatum Talks Schools, Will Commit When ‘Comfortable’
By MATT JESSEN-HOWARDMINNEAPOLIS – Jayson Tatum, the five-star guard out of Chaminade Prep (MO), has had an excellent spring.
Tatum, the top player in the Class of 2016 according to ESPN, led the St. Louis Eagles to a Division C championship within the Nike EYBL circuit, and a high seed at Peach Jam. The 6-foot-8 small forward averaged 19.5 points on 49.3 percent shooting, as well as 8.0 rebounds for the Eagles.
“It’s gone real well, you know, we’re 10-3 and playing in maybe the top division,” he told SNY.tv in an exclusive interview. “All that really matters is that we go to Peach Jam and continue to play well,”
On April 10, Tatum narrowed his recruitment to four schools: Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Saint Louis.
Tatum has already taken an official visit to Duke for their game against Syracuse this spring.
“I enjoyed my official visit there,” he said. “I had a good time, and I got to watch a really good game. They’ve been recruiting me extremely hard.”
“I can honestly say it exceeded my expectations. I went in there wondering how crazy it was gonna be because of everything I heard about their fans and things like that and it was better than people said…I would definitely give the visit a 10 out of 10,” he wrote on his USA Today blog following the visit.
Tatum has also visited Kentucky twice, both times unofficially.
“Coach Cal’s a great coach and he has great assistants,” he told SNY.tv. “I have a great relationship with their coaches. They offered me back when I was a freshman and have been recruiting me hard ever since then.”
The school he’s likely the most familiar with is likely Saint Louis University, the hometown school.
“It would mean a lot for one of the top guys in high school basketball to stay in Saint Louis,” he said. “I’ve visited there quite a few times. I hear a lot of people at school and just in town telling me that I have to stay.”
North Carolina is the school that he has yet to check out.
“I haven’t visited there yet, but they have a great program,” he said.
He’ll make it out to Chapel Hill eventually, but doesn’t have a date picked out yet for that visit or any other official visits he might take.
“I don’t have a timeline for my decision or visits,” he said. “I’m not sure when I’ll take officials to Kentucky or North Carolina, but I’m sure I’ll get to those. I don’t know yet if I’ll take an official visit to Saint Louis because I’ve been there so many times.”
Tatum said that he’ll commit to “wherever [he’s] most comfortable,” but also noted the style of play he hopes to participate in at the next level.
“I mean I’ll play wherever coach needs me and where I can help the team out. I don’t have a preferred system or role,” he said. “But I do like getting up and down, and I think that fits me well. I also like playing a lot of pick-and-roll.”
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.