Will Tyus sign with the Gophers a year from now? Or will he head to a traditional power program?
Tyus Jones, a 6-foot-2 junior point guard from Apple Valley, recently narrowed his list of schools to eight. GopherHole.com caught up with Jones at the Minnetonka Fall League to learn the latest on his updated list of schools and the upcoming season.
Gopher Hole: I saw that you narrowed your list of schools. What was the reason for coming out with that now?
Tyus Jones: I think just to make it a little bit easier for myself to focus on those schools. Those are the ones that I am coming in contact with the most anyways. I am narrowing it down a little bit to make the
whole process a little bit easier.
Gopher Hole: Now with coaches being able to text you, did it ever get to be too much or overwhelming at times?
Tyus Jones: It actually hasn’t been that bad. There are definitely some times when I have gotten a lot of texts or got done playing and had some missed calls or stuff like that.
Gopher Hole: Have you talked to some of those other schools that didn’t make that list?
Tyus Jones: Yes. A little bit.
Gopher Hole: Was it tough to tell them?
Tyus Jones: It is always tough, but there were certain schools that were contacting me a little bit, but not a whole lot. Not as much as the final eight schools that I have.
Gopher Hole: Let me ask you about those eight schools. What do you like about Baylor?
Tyus Jones: Baylor. Their style of play. They let their guys play basketball. Their facilities. I took an unofficial down there. They have great facilities. Unbelievable. Their campus is nice as well.
Gopher Hole: Obviously, Coach Nuness is there. Is that a factor, too?
Tyus Jones: Definitely. My cousin, Jared, is an assistant down there, so that is definitely a plus.
Gopher Hole: What about Michigan State?
Tyus Jones: Michigan State. I have a great relationship with Coach Izzo. He is definitely a “players coach”, which is something good. They are always successful. They have been to many, many Final Fours, so that is something that you look into.
Gopher Hole: How about Ohio State?
Tyus Jones: Ohio State. Their style of play is something I like. They have had a few good point guards go there and have successful careers there.
Gopher Hole: You were there for a visit last year right?
Tyus Jones: I was. They have nice facilities and I like their campus a lot.
Gopher Hole: How about Kansas?
Tyus Jones: Kansas. I grew up liking Kansas. Coach Self is a phenomenal coach. I really like him. They run a lot of pick and rolls, which is something that I like to do with my game, so their style of play is something I like.
Gopher Hole: How about Duke?
Tyus Jones: Duke. Coach K. An unbelievable coach. I have a great relationship with him. Went down there and really enjoyed myself. Loved the campus. Loved the guys on the team and how they play and their philosophies. I really, really liked it.
Gopher Hole: How about North Carolina?
Tyus Jones: North Carolina. Their coach, Roy Williams, is one of the best. They have unbelievable facilities. Everyone knows their tradition. It is kind of one of those schools that you know what you are getting.
Gopher Hole: What about Kentucky?
Tyus Jones: Kentucky. Coach Calipari. I really like him. There have an unbelievable tradition as well. They have had really successful point guards that have gone there in the past. That is definitely something that I will look into when looking at them.
Gopher Hole: How about Minnesota?
Tyus Jones: Minnesota. Got a good relationship with all the coaches on the staff there. With them being the hometown school, I grew up watching them and everything like that. Been on campus a bunch of times. I like where the team is going this year. They had a good year last year and they are improving, which is what you like to see, which is what you like to see in any program you are looking at. You always want to keep going up.
Gopher Hole: You were at their game versus Minnesota Mankato. What was that experience like?
Tyus Jones: It was good. They played really well. It looked like they had it going from the beginning, so it was good.
Gopher Hole: I heard that some of the students were chanting your name. Did you hear that? What is your reaction?
Tyus Jones: It did. It was a good feeling knowing that the students want you to go there. It was a good feeling.
Gopher Hole: The Gophers are expected to have a good season with most of their players back. If they have the type of season they are hoping to have, is that going to make you look at them harder or will that change your opinion much?
Tyus Jones: Being one of the final eight schools that I am looking at, you are watching every team during the season and you want those teams to have good years and keep improving. That is something that you will be looking at. I’ll definitely be cheering for them and hoping that they have a great year.
Gopher Hole: You have to feel pretty good about any of those eight schools. You can’t really go wrong. That has to make you feel good.
Tyus Jones: Most definitely. It is a very stressful process being only able to pick one school. I think that I have a pretty solid list. Whichever it ends up being, I don’t think that I can go wrong.
Gopher Hole: How about being back on the court after missing about a month? How does it feel to be back out here?
Tyus Jones: It feels great. To have to sit out and not be able to play or work out or even go shoot, it kills you. Being able to play again is great. Just getting back in the gym and working out hard and getting ready for the season.
Gopher Hole: Since I talked to you last, you are now ranked #1 in the country in your class. How does that feel? You only moved one spot, from two to one, but it has to make you feel pretty good.
Tyus Jones: It feels good. It’s just now I am going to have to work that much harder. Being put up there on a pedestal, I guess that even more people are going to come after you and work and try to outwork you and get better than you. You have to just work that much harder.
Gopher Hole: Do you feel that you have a little bit more of a target on your back being #1 as opposed to #2?
Tyus Jones: Yes, I guess you could say. I don’t feel any different or anything like that. I just have to get in the gym and work harder.
Gopher Hole: How about your teammates like Dustin Fronk and Dennis Austin who played on a football team that made it to the state tournament, playing with you in the Minnetonka Fall League? I know that you used to play football. Does that make you miss it even more knowing how well they have done this year?
Tyus Jones: I definitely miss playing football. We have a few basketball players playing. I am at every game, supporting them and I am with them through it. It is definitely great seeing them having a great year and I am just happy for them.
Gopher Hole: Does that make you miss playing?
Tyus Jones: It does. Ever since I stopped playing, I’ve missed it. I am starting to miss it more, especially playing with them as I was growing up and they are out there, so I miss it.
Gopher Hole: Is there any way you would play as a senior? Or would it be too hard after not playing the past few seasons?
Tyus Jones: Yeah, I think that it would be pretty hard, but I definitely miss it.
GH: Did that make you feel good that even though they were still playing football, that most of your guys still played in the Fall League?
Tyus Jones: Definitely. It just shows that they are committed to the season and they want to get the team chemistry good. They just want to get in the gym and play, which is always good.