Tyus Jones chooses Duke

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 16, 2013 - 8:36 AM

The Apple Valley star, as planned, joins friend Jahlil Okafor in playing for coach Mike Krzyzewski.

The Apple Valley High School gym was eerily quiet Friday, considering about 750 people had arrived to see a consensus top-five national basketball recruit announce his college destination.

Tyus Jones, who had choked up moments earlier, thinking about his recently deceased grandfather, stood solemnly at a lectern, waiting for instructions through his ear piece from a television producer.

ESPNU had staged this moment so Jones and his close friend from Chicago, Jahlil Okafor, could announce their decisions together. Asked where they were going, Jones anxiously grabbed a charcoal colored hat from inside the podium and said, “Duke University.”

Seconds later, Okafor donned a blue cap and said those same two words.

The silence in both gymnasiums was gone, replaced by standing ovations and thunderous applause. Jones looked over at his family and exhaled.

“It’s over, baby!” said his older brother, Jadee.

Tyus Jones exhaled again. One of the most high-profile recruiting processes in Minnesota sports history finally had ended.

“It started four years ago,” Apple Valley coach Zach Goring said. “It was my first year as coach, so I’m nervous the first day, and there’s Tubby Smith from the University of Minnesota, coming over to watch our eighth-grader.”

Other coaches soon followed, including Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Kansas’ Bill Self, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Smith’s replacement at Minnesota, Richard Pitino. Jones never officially cut the Gophers from his list, but it had been assumed for months he would head out of state.

Okafor never listed the Gophers as one of his finalists. He and Jones had been planning to attend the same college together since 2011.

Okafor, a 6-11 center from Chicago’s Whitney Young High School, is the nation’s consensus No. 1 recruit in this year’s senior class. ESPN has Jones ranked No. 4 on that list. Their idea to attend the same school hatched in Colorado, during tryouts for the Team USA Under-16 squad.

“We became good friends, and we just kind of mentioned it one day, not seriously,” Jones said. “The more we both thought about it, the better the idea sounded.”

Jones said he and Okafor finalized their decisions Thursday.

“He’s like my best friend; he’s like a brother to me,” Okafor said. “If you take basketball out of the equation, he’s still somebody I wanted to go to college with.”

Jeff Borzello, a college basketball writer for CBSSports.com, said it’s rare for two elite recruits to announce they are going to the same school simultaneously.

“I think the chemistry they have is just going to be a huge advantage for Duke,” Borzello said. “It’s going to be one of the best point guards in the country, and the best big man in the country, and I think Duke immediately becomes maybe the national title favorite for next season.”

The Blue Devils’ starting point guard this year is junior Quinn Cook.

“He’ll be a senior next year, but it won’t be much of a contest [with Jones],” Borzello said. “Cook will have experience, and I think they’ll find ways to get them both on the floor, but I think Tyus Jones will start immediately.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 93 FINAL
Phoenix 99
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
IUPUI 59 FINAL
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How should Timberwolves fans greet Kevin Love on Saturday?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close