Playing at the Nike Peach Jam in South Carolina, Chaminade star Jayson Tatum announced he’s headed to Duke in the fall of 2016. The soon-to-be senior also considered Saint Louis University, Kentucky and North Carolina. Tatum made the decision on national TV after his St. Louis Eagles AAU team played a semifinal matchup.
He said after his senior year he’d be headed to Duke and then held up a Blue Devils t-shirt for the crowd to see.
This puts an end to years of speculation as to whether or not the greatest player to come from the St. Louis area would actually stay home as opposed to leaving for greener pastures. Bradley Beal – who also attended Chaminade – went to Florida as did David Lee.
CBC’s Jordan Barnett elected to go to Texas. The list goes on.
Tatum spoke to me at length in early June and he spoke heavily about Duke and SLU. He said he was very seriously considering the Billikens and loved the idea of being that guy who stayed home, almost as if he was attempting to be a trend setter. Tatum said he thought he’d be able to recruit to SLU if he chose to go there.
But the #2 player in next year’s senior class as ranked by ESPN also talked about his love for the Duke program and his relationship with head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Tatum said, above all else, he was looking for comfort in his decision. He wanted to be comfortable in his surroundings and with the coaching staff.
While SLU would appear to be the ultimate in comfort – since it is his hometown – he also spoke at length about wanting to grow as a player by going up against the best competition possible. He admitted the ACC (Duke’s conference) is obviously far superior to the Atlantic 10 (where SLU calls home).
How close was Tatum to actually pulling the trigger on staying home and attending SLU? We’ll never know. He’s a Duke Blue Devil now.