Tyus Jones at The Barn for a recent Gopher game.
Behind most successful young men is a hard-working and nurturing Mother who leads by example. That is certainly the case as Debbie Jones helps guide the nation's number one basketball recruit, her son Tyus, through the intense national recruiting battle that is taking place in Apple Valley. With coaches calling, texting, visiting and writing her son daily, Debbie guides Tyus through the traditional pressures of high school academics, sports and growing up, while also playing a critical role in helping shape one of the biggest decisions her son will ever make - what college to attend.
GopherHole caught up with Debbie Jones on Tuesday night to learn about the recruiting process through her eyes, what she likes about various programs and how she helps guide Tyus with his big decision.
GH: Tyus has a reputation as being a grounded and mature kid. How do you instill that in him with all of the attention he’s getting?
DJ: He kind of does it on his own. He understands, he gets it. We talk about stuff all of the time, dealing teammates, doing good in the classroom, but he does what he’s supposed to do.
GH: What did you like best about Duke?
DJ: There isn’t much we didn’t like. It’s a beautiful school, the facilities, the academics. We just really enjoyed the people. It was just a good family environment.
GH: What about UNC?
DJ: History. Great part of the country. All of the things. The school, the people the environment.
GH: What did you like about Michigan State?
DJ: You know we love Coach Izzo and his staff. It was just great to learn about the history and the school and what they are about. We enjoyed it.
GH: What about Ohio State?
DJ: We felt very comfortable, it’s a beautiful campus. It was great to sit through meetings, get to know the people?
GH: And Kansas is this weekend?
DJ: Yep, Kansas is this weekend. And Tyus also went to Baylor. We’ve been to the U.
GH: What did you think of Baylor?
DJ: I didn’t go to Baylor, but Tyus said they had great facilities. He had a great time learning about the school and academics.
GH: What do you think will be the deciding factor in Tyus’ decision?
DJ: I think you have to take everything into consideration and not just one thing that will make a decision. It will be the whole entire process and taking everything into consideration.
GH: What will have to happen for Tyus to choose the U?
DJ: I don’t think anything will have to happen. It will have to be a school that is the best fit all around. We’re not waiting for something to happen.
GH: What do you like about the U?
DJ: It’s close to home. That’s big. We’re all here, my sister, her husband. We all go to these places together. That’s huge. They have good people and academics.
GH: What is a timeline for a decision?
DJ: I don’t think we have a timeline set. I would say probably not until after the Spring/Summer season. I really don’t know for sure.
GH: How does it feel to have a high school legend as your son?
DJ: (laughter). Well thank you. I just never expected it to get to that level. Nothing has really changed. We’re very blessed and thankful every day.
GH: Are you frustrated by the recruiting process?
DJ: No, everyone is very respectful. They give us space and don’t call all the time. We’re thankful for that.
GH: What’s your relationship with Tubby?
DJ: He’s a great man. I think he’s done a good job but he’s had a few rough times with injuries and personnel, but he’s a very good guy.
GH: What about Kentucky?
DJ: Kentucky was really cool. The facilities are amazing. It’s a great situation. He has a unique situation with freshmen in and freshmen out. But he’s a really great man.
GH: Would Tyus look at the one-and-done type of thing?
DJ: We talk about all of the aspects of everything but it’s not as if we factor that in to what he’s considering. If he does that’s awesome but if not that’s awesome.
GH: How much do facilities play in to a situation?
DJ: That’s part of what you take into consideration. Some of the places we’ve been the facilities have been really nice.