NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — In the end, it was always going to be Duke.
With coach Mike Krzyzewski and his coaching staff looking on from the stands, and just moments after his St. Louis Eagles squad knocked off Harry Giles III and Team CP3, Jayson Tatum announced that he will play his college basketball at Duke.
Televised nationally on ESPNU, Tatum, the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect told ESPNU’s announcing team that he chose the Blue Devils ahead of offers from hometown St. Louis, Kentucky and just about every other top program in the country. He made the announcement then held a Duke t-shirt aloft, reminiscent of Jabari Parker’s announcement two seasons earlier, albeit in a much larger, national setting.
Then, shortly after holding it aloft so that the crowd could see his selection, Tatum put the shirt on.
“I’m just so happy to be a part of this program, with great coaches like this. Now I have to do a little recruiting myself,” Tatum said. “It’s great to have this over with. My mom is proud of me.”
Tatum said he was ready to make the decision, despite working through the busiest stretch of his summer season.
And that’s precisely what motivated the advice Tatum had for other recruits:
“I would tell them to go at their own pace,” Tatum said. “Do what you think is best for you and your family.”
Meantime, perhaps inspired by the fact that this is a no-contact period between coaches and athletes, this was Coach K’s reaction immediately after Tatum’s announcement: