Tyus Jones visited the Gophers last week and may take an official visit to the U in the coming few weeks.
Tyus Jones, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior point guard from Apple Valley (MN) High, is ranked as the number three prospect in the Class of 2014 according to ESPN. He visited Minnesota last week and recently set up official visits with four schools.
GopherHole.com caught up with Jones Monday to learn the latest on his Gopher visit and the latest on his college recruitment.
Gopher Hole: You are heading out Wednesday to play in the Under Armour Elite 24 in New York. You played in the event last season in California, right?
Tyus Jones: Same event. Last year, I had a great time, great experience and looking to just have a fun weekend again this summer. It is kind of like an All-Star game. They get the most talented kids from across the country and bring them out to play in a game together. We have a lot of fun, both on and off the court.
Gopher Hole: New York is known for its street basketball. Is it going to be kind of neat to play where some famous players have played in the past?
Tyus Jones: Yes. It will be a very good experience. Like you said, it is outdoors. Playground basketball, so it will be a good experience and a really good atmosphere.
Gopher Hole: You are getting ready to start your senior year. Is it weird knowing that you are a senior, finally?
Tyus Jones: It is. It is very weird to kind of step back and look at it and see that this is my last go-around for high school basketball. I started my eighth grade year and never thought that I would get to my senior year, but to see that it is here now and it went by extremely fast. It is kind of a surreal feeling, but now I have to make the most of it.
Gopher Hole: How has the recruiting process been? Has it been a little bit easier because you had narrowed your list of seven schools awhile ago. Does it ever get tiring or do you like it? What is your feeling about the whole recruiting process?
Tyus Jones: It is going well, overall for myself. I can’t complain. Coming into the summer, I knew the intensity would start to pick up and that is what it did throughout the summer. The intensity picked up. You can just feel that, but you knew that was going to happen. I think that it did originally make it easier on myself when I narrowed the list to seven. I think that it kind of made the process a whole lot easier on myself, though.
Gopher Hole: You recently announced when your official visits are going to be. How hard was that to coordinate when you were going where and what weekend? Did you work with the schools and that was the weekends that they wanted you to visit?
Tyus Jones: My mother did an extremely good job of setting that up. It took a little bit of time, but we talked with my family and talked back and forth with the schools. We just got it set up where the weekends worked out for the both of us. The schools are very cooperative with us and we were able to make it work.
Gopher Hole: Is your family going to go to any of the visits or all of them?
Tyus Jones: Yes, they will be going to all of them.
Gopher Hole: Who will be going? Your mom and your brother?
Tyus Jones: I’m not sure. I know that my mom will be going on all of them. I know that my aunt and uncle will be going on all but one. So for the most part, it will be me, my mom and both my aunt and uncle.
Gopher Hole: Does that make it a little bit easier having your family with you?
Tyus Jones: Definitely. Definitely. I have a great support system. I have since I was younger and they made the recruiting process a lot easier on myself. Always having my back and always being there for me.
Gopher Hole: Say if you decide to go to college out-of-state, how hard or weird will it be not having some of those people at your games that you are used to seeing?
Tyus Jones: It will be hard. It will definitely be something different that I am not used to. The family has always been there, no matter if it was a high school game, when I was younger, playing traveling ball, if it was Team USA, I have always had my family be there, supporting me. It will be something different, but if I do go out-of-state, it will be something that I will have to get used to.
Gopher Hole: I know that you visited with Coach Pitino along with Reid Travis. What was that visit like?
Tyus Jones: We had a good visit. We had a really good visit with Coach Pitino and the coaching staff. I sat down and had a great conversation with them. It was really good to get on campus and meet with them face to face again. We just had a good time.
Gopher Hole: I read that you were thinking about taking an official visit there even though it is so close. Have you decided on that or are you working it out?
Tyus Jones: Yes, I am still working that out. Still. talking with my mom and my family about it. I haven’t decided yet.
Gopher Hole: How many schools are you really on right now? Are you still on seven or would you say more likely five?
Tyus Jones: Ohio State has stopped recruiting me, so that really cuts it down to six, but I haven’t made any cuts or anything like that. I would say that it is really down to six.
Gopher Hole: I was wondering about that because I don’t know if you saw it but Ohio State got a commitment from a 2015 point guard?
Tyus Jones: No, I didn’t see that. I didn’t see that at all.
Gopher Hole: What are you expecting to learn from some of these programs during your visits?
Tyus Jones: I have been on unofficials to all of these schools, so we know a lot about all the schools. Mainly, just looking for a feel. Just a general feel. The campus. The coaching. The coaches and the coaching staff. Also the team. You are going to be there 24/7 around those guys. You want to feel comfortable, but be somewhere where it like a home environment for yourself.
Gopher Hole: Did that unofficial visit give you a better feeling about Minnesota and make you think that it was a place that maybe you weren’t considering as much, but now are going to consider more?
Tyus Jones: It gave me a better feel, definitely. Meeting with Coach Pitino and the coaching staff. Definitely got a better feel for him and his coaching staff. It is always hard when a coaching staff comes in late for the rising seniors. I was open to building a relationship and that is what we are still doing and it continues to grow. Going over there and meeting with them in person just gave me a better feel. That is for sure.
Gopher Hole: If you had to pick a school today, could you even do that or would that be impossible to do?
Tyus Jones: It would be impossible.
Gopher Hole: Have you thought any more about when you are going to decide?
Tyus Jones: I will decide in the beginning of November. I will take all my visits and then make a decision before the early signing period to get it out of the way before my senior season starts.
Gopher Hole: How about your high school team? I know that you played in St. Michael-Albertville and won that event and won the Pacesetter. You lost some key players like Dustin Fronk and Harry Sonie, but you have some good players and some young players that didn’t play last year, that looked good, including your brother. You have to be pretty proud of how well you played so far this year.
Tyus Jones: Yes, I am extremely proud of our guys. There is going to be a big target on our back, just because we won the state tournament last year. There is always a target on the defending state champions. That is something that we are going to have to prepare for. We are going to have to be ready for our opponent’s “A” game every night out. It will be a grind during the season to make sure we are locked in, focused and to never let up, but I was proud of our young guys. They really stepped up and showed that they are excited and ready to play at the varsity level. It was good to see the young talent succeed.