Tre Jones would love to tell you that it all just happened organically.
That every other player had just as good a chance as he did.
He’d like to but, well, he can’t.
Truth is his ascension to the No. 1 point guard spot in the ESPN 100 was all a part of a well-orchestrated plan.
“I wanted to be No. 1 so I put everything I had toward that goal,” said Jones, who hails from Apple Valley (Minn.). “I just wasn’t gonna let it not happen. It was that simple for me.”
Jones is the younger brother of Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Tyus Jones, who also graduated high school in 2014 ranked No. 1 among point guards before going on to Duke and winning Most Outstanding Player of the 2015 NCAA title game.
If that fact somehow prompted an epiphany on how Tre rose from unranked to top dog then you’re not digging deep enough.
Truth is, in so many ways, Tyus’ dream run worked against Tre.
“Oh I definitely don’t think it helped him that he was my brother,” Tyus said. “People were looking for me, but he’s got his own way. It took people a while to appreciate the differences.”
Tre didn’t leave them much choice this summer.
He took home Offensive MVP of the Nike EYBL after averaging 19.3 points while shooting 56.5 percent from the field, 8.3 assists and only 1.8 turnovers a game for Howard Pulley (Minn.).
Before that, he claimed the second state title of his high school career, posting 24 points, 18 rebounds and five assists to lead the Eagles.
Jones committed to Duke in August.
Yes, the same team where Tyus solidified lifetime legendary status by delivering the Blue Devils a national title as a freshman.
“People will think that I’m following in my brother’s footsteps by going to Duke, but it’s Duke,” Tre said. “I would’ve gone there regardless because it was the best fit for me. It feels good to have that decision out of the way so I can just concentrate on getting better. I don’t even think about being the No. 1 point guard really; I want to be so much better than I am right now.”
Tyus said he “always knew” Tre would be in this position.
Not in the “chest poked out/big brother” way either; Tyus said he knew strictly based off of basketball knowledge and experience.
“Tre is a hard worker and he has the right mentality,” Tyus said. “That’s the biggest thing. He uses everything as motivation. Good and bad. His mindset was to be the best player on the court. Period.”
That will certainly come in handy with the road he’s got ahead.
Tyus warned Tre that if he thought the quest for No. 1 was difficult, staying there would feel unrealistic at times.
“I’m already feeling that,” Tre said. “Everyone’s coming at you because they want what you’ve got, but I’m such a competitor I just love that part of it. It keeps me on my toes and that’s only helping me get better. I wanted to be the No. 1 point guard and I want to finish as that, but even more than that I’m working for the next level. I’ve got bigger goals.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY