Tag Archives: Elite 24

Big Time PG Prospect Tyus Jones talks hoops with BDN

Few positions in sports are able to control the tempo of a game like a point guard can. For some, speed is the key, while others like to slow the game down completely. Players such as Tyus Jones have the ability to change the pace back and forth, constantly keeping the defender on his toes. Jones has a feel for the game that is far beyond his years.

For Jones the attention he receives is nothing new. His local university, Minnesota, has been recruiting him since the eighth grade, and he has built a great relationship with Tubby Smith and his staff.

The Apple Valley product won a Gold medal this summer with the U17 Team USA squad in Lithuania. He had the chance to share the experience with close friends Justise Winslow and Jahlil Okafor.

Jones gave BDN a few minutes to discuss his summer and his recruitment, among other topics.

BlueDevilNation: Take me over your summer and how you think it went.

Tyus Jones: I think the summer’s gone very well so far. I enjoyed [private] myself this summer. I had a blast this summer and traveling and everything like that and I think I played well. I think I improved. I don’t think I have any choice but to improve. You know, with the level of competition being as high as it is. So, you know, I enjoyed myself.

BDN: Do you feel you there is a difference in your role in AAU and high school?

TJ: You know, my AAU role, I think the games are different. Minnesota high school ball doesn’t have a shot clock so there’s not as many shots. Some teams will more slow it down and things like that but I think I still have a similar role. I got to score, but at the same time distribute the ball and get my teammates involved. So I think, my AAU team and high school team, I play a similar role.

BDN: You obviously had a great opportunity this summer to travel to the Canary Islands and Lithuania. How do you think that experience changed you?

TJ: It was great, it was great. You know the experience was unbelievable to go to a different country and see what their culture is like and how they do things over there. You know even the game of basketball over there, the fans, and just everything is different. So it was a great learning experience. But, you know, we had fun and played well over there.

BDN: Was there one major difference in the culture that you noticed?

TJ: All of their stuff is more compact. You know, the rooms are real small, restaurants and stores are all real small. You sit real close together. So everything was just compact.

BDN: Compared to here where most things are more open and spread out.

TJ: Yeah, exactly. We were able to walk everywhere there.

BDN: You also had a chance to watch the Team USA Men’s team when you got back. Can you go over that experience?

TJ: That was just crazy. To be in the room of the world’s best of the best right now. It didn’t even feel real. It was a great experience. We were very thankful that they gave us the opportunity to do that, and it was great to see even at that level how focused and intense those guys are.

BDN: What, if anything, did you notice about the players’ interaction with each other? Coaches?

TJ: One of the main things you notice is how much respect the players have for Coach K and the assistants. A lot of times you might think NBA players are on top, so they might not want to hear what coaches had to say, but they were tuned in, respectful and listened to anything they had to say. They were still learning the game, which is good to see.

BDN: Can you go over who’s recruiting you right now?

TJ: University of Minnesota, Ohio State, Michigan State, Baylor, Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas.

BDN: Regarding Duke, obviously Coach K coaches the national team. Is that something that players either talk about to each other or take into heavy consideration?

TJ: I think everything goes into consideration. I think you look at every aspect of it, whether it be big or little. So it’s definitely something you look at and it could vary from player to player how big of an aspect that is from a college standpoint. But yeah, you definitely notice it.

BDN: Does it make any difference to you that he wasn’t able to be there to recruit in July?

TJ: No, I talked to him a little bit right before they left and I was still in contact with their assistant coaches. Obviously he had a much more important (laughs) job so you can’t really hold that against a coach or anything.

BDN: Tell me about the local school, Minnesota, that’s been recruiting you for awhile.

TJ: Oh I’ve got a good relationship with Tubby Smith and his staff. They’ve been recruiting me for awhile since I was an eighth grader, so we’ve gotten close since I’ve known them. They had a good run at the end of the year last year which is good to see.

BDN: Do you have any upcoming visits that are planned?

TJ: As of now I don’t have any officially planned out. I’m going to try and do some in the fall, I’m not sure to where.

BDN: Try and make a Midnight Madness event?

TJ: Yeah, I think so. I’m not sure to where though, but yeah I’m going to try and make some.

BDN: Reading a previous interview with you, I read that you said you wanted to become more vocal during the summer. Do you feel like you accomplished that?

TJ: I did, I did. It’s just something I think a point guard has to have, along with coaches think a point guard has to have. You have to be able to communicate. Communication on a team is key and the point guard being the leader out there on the floor, it starts with them. I tried to focus on that and I think my vocal leadership improved.

BDN: Thanks a lot for your time.

TJ: No problem, thank you. [/private]

Shabazz Muhammad looking forward to a return trip to Duke

The nation’s top player, 2012 Shabazz Muhammad, was back for his second trip to the Boost Mobile Elite 24. Last year Muhammad was one of the few juniors selected to the team, and this year he is one of the veterans of the competition. It was never a surprise that Muhammad would have a return trip to Venice Beach as the senior has maintained his status as top dog with a constant target on his back. The Las Vegas product has filled in his frame giving himself a college ready body to go along with his unmatched effort and focus. Duke has long stayed on the prospect regardless of rumors of where he may end up. BDN got a chance to speak with the talented senior and get his thoughts on his return trip to Venice Beach. (BDN Premium  is currently running a membership special where you can save up to 15% off our normal rates.  Go to the join page to see discounted options and come inside for more exciting information)

BDN: Being the veteran at this event now is anything different or easier about it?

SM: Yea it’s a little different. Last year I was the young guy and I learned a lot. Now I’m a veteran trying to teach these young guys how to fit into this event.

BDN: How do you like the gear they hook have hooked you up with?

SM: Oh yea definitely. The gear is nice. We get a lot of stuff. UnderArmor hooks us up with a lot of gear and their stuff’s really comfortable so it’s a great event to come to.

BDN: Who was the toughest [private] pro you got to play against? Either here or at Impact (Las Vegas basketball facility)

SM: Probably Derrick Rose.

BDN: What can you come away with from the training session they had?

SM: You can come away with a lot of stuff. The drills they taught, some of those drills I didn’t know about, like the one with the weight vest and weight ball. You can definitely take that back home and work on that stuff.

BDN: You spend a lot of time with these guys have you had a chance to make any new relationships?

SM: Yea I made a lot of new friends especially going into this. I didn’t really know a lot of these guys and now I’m getting to know them all. It’s a great event to make friends.

BDN: What do you believe is the most improved aspect of your game since your last visit here?

SM: I really think my ball handling and my change of direction on my jump shot. I tried to work on it out here, even though it wasn’t falling. I’m going to continue to work on that stuff because at the next level that’s the stuff I really need. I’ve also been working on my right hand a lot.

BDN: What official visits do you have set up so far?

SM: The only official visit I have so far is Kentucky for their Midnight Madness, that’s one I know I’m going to, and the rest I’m going to decide with my parents and go from there.

BDN: Do you feel like you’ll make an early or late decision?

SM: Probably a late one.

BDN: In the spring?

SM: Yea wait until the spring. I really want to make sure I make the right decision and talk a little bit with everybody.

BDN: One of the teams that is recruiting you is Duke, have you been able to watch any of their games in China?

SM: Yea I have been able to watch them. I talked to Coach K when he was in the airport. Their cell phones were out in the one country they were at but I talked to him in China also. He said they were going to go sight-seeing at the Great Wall of China. It’s a great experience and I really love Coach K and the relationship we’re building is a really great one. Coach Wojo is also a great guy and I can’t wait to go back there again.

BDN: You’re entering your senior year now, what are you trying to prove?

SM: I just think I have to maintain what I’m doing now. They ranked me as the number one player so obviously I have to continue to work hard and not rest on my laurels. I just need to continue to get into the gym and work on the things I said I was working on like my right hand, and change of directions from a jump shot. I know I’m gonna keep working on it and getting better at it.

BDN: Much appreciated for your time Shabazz.

SM: No problem. [/private]

Duke Bound Rasheed Sulaimon Talks Elite 24 and more

While there was a boat load of Duke recruits this week in L.A for the Boost Mobile Elite 24 there was only one Duke commit, 2012 Rasheed Sulaimon. Rasheed started out the event with a solid performance vs. the pro’s on Wednesday night where he showed his solid 3 point shot as well as his active hands on defense. There was no backing down from the rising senior as he effectively showed everyone why he is rated as high as he is. Rasheed continued his hot shooting into the practice where he was easily a top 3 player on the court at all times. Sulaimon also showed great athleticism over the week with numerous high flying dunks as well as great lateral quickness which will help him on defense in the future. It isn’t very hard to see why scouts have him rated so high and once again the Blue Devils pulled in one of the best guards in the class. Rasheed was kind enough to take a few minutes and speak with BDN on his time at the Elite 24 (Note- We are currently running a one week special on memberships which is 15% off the yearly rate.  Other options discounted as well.)

BDN: What’s this experience been like getting to play with the pro’s?

RS: It’s just been a great experience you know. Coming out here and competing with top notch guys like Kemba Walker who won a championship last year, Brandon Jennings who had 55 points his rookie year, Tyreke Evans, and the list goes on and on. Just to be on the same court as these guys it’s truly an honor and we just try to come out here and compete as best as you can and it’s just a really [private]fun experience.

BDN: What do you think separates them from where you are?

RS: I think it’s just the mentality. They have the killer mentality all the time and that is one thing us youth have to grasp if we want to make it to the next level. Also their bodies and size, you know they’re 6’5 as a two-guard. You know these are all things we can work on.

BDN: What do you have to do to get there?

RS: You know just keep working every day, staying in the gym, staying humble, staying hungry, continue to get stronger and faster and improve on my skills each and every day. If I stay healthy and keep working, you know in the future I might have a chance.

BDN: When you’re on the court is there anybody better than you?

RS: (laughs) You know, you have to have that mindset. I have a lot of respect for guys but when you’re on the court you gotta compete and you gotta have that mindset that nobody can stop you, otherwise you know you’re going to have fear and that’s not good for playing basketball. Of course you gotta have that mindset but at the same time you have to respect.

BDN: Over the summer you obviously build some relationships, has there been any new ones this year?

RS: You know, a lot of these guys I grew up with so we just keep in touch a lot. I think maybe one guy that I developed a really good relationship with is Anthony Bennett from Canada. He was on my team at Lebron and NBA Camp and we became really good friends.

BDN: Have you been able to catch any of the Duke games in China at all?

RS: Yea I have. Actually I DVR’d and watched them. You know they (smiling), it’s early in the season and they showed a lot of growth in the few games they’ve played so far and they’ve really been playing well.

BDN: Have you been in contact with any of the coaches while they’ve been gone?

RS: Yea I called Coach K a couple of times and it was kind of hard because of the signal but we got in touch and we just talked a little bit, and talked about how they’re playing and everything like that.

BDN: You’ll eventually be taking an official visit, have you set a date yet?

RS: As of right now I’m not sure but I’m looking probably to make it before the season starts.

BDN: You know I’ve got to ask this, have you been making any progress on the recruiting trail?

RS: (laughing) Yea I know that’s the hot topic right now especially on Twitter, and you know there’s a lot of Duke recruits here like Tony Parker and Shabazz. I’m continuing to talk to them and trying the best that I can to come to Duke with me.

BDN: Who was the hardest pro you got to play with this week?

RS: It’s probably between Brandon Jennings and Kemba Walker.

BDN: What was difficult about that?

RS: Well they are lightning quick, ball handling, they got the ball on a string, they can make any shot and make any move. With those guys you can’t really give them too much space and if you do they are just gonna destroy you.

BDN: Are they faster than on TV?
RS: (laughing) Oh shoot! They are WAY faster!

BDN: Thanks for your time Rasheed.
RS: Oh no problem man. [/private]