Jayson Tatum is a five-star small forward in the class of 2016, but that isn’t stopping him from wanting to commit to a college program before the fall. The 6’8″, 190 pound star out of St. Louis’s Chaminade College Prep spoke to Brian Feldman of KMOV yesterday and revealed what he called his “Final Four.”
Those four schools are Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and, oddly enough, Saint Louis University. Tatum said he was “dead serious” about SLU, as his father went there.
“I know how much it would mean for my family and for the city of St. Louis if someone my caliber of talent were to stay home and play for SLU. It’d be a big deal,” Tatum said.
However, though UNC is on his list, Tatum did indeed express concern about going there. The school recently received a notice of allegations from the NCAA regarding an investigation into possible academic fraud and the future of its athletics are far from certain, at least in terms of punishment.
Thus, let’s say for the sake of argument that Tatum has three schools on his radar: Duke, Kentucky and SLU. Duke is a great program with a Hall of Fame coach in Mike Krzyzewski, and he just won his fifth championship as coach of the Blue Devils. Then, we have another fine program in Kentucky that also has a Hall of Fame coach in John Calipari and manages to put together near-NBA caliber teams as it contends for a championship year after year.
And then there’s the SLU Billikens, a scrappy Atlantic 10 program that was revitalized by the late Rick Majerus and then subsequently by successor Jim Crews, who has gone 66-35 (29-21 A-10) in his three years at the helm. However, the team took a step back in 2015, going 11-21 (3-15 A-10) after going 27-7 (13-3 A-10) the year before.
Just the same, Tatum is seriously considering the program and if there’s anyone who can make it rise up from the ashes, it’s him. He is a versatile wing with grand upside and could easily put SLU back on the map.
Campus Sports will update Tatum’s decision as he continues to narrow down his choices.