COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – It can be a lot to live up to when your big brother puts his team on his back and leads it to a national title and is named most outstanding player of the Final Four.
Tre Jones is used to following his brother’s footsteps. He’s doing a bit more of it this week at the U-16 national team basketball training camp at the U.S Olympic training center. Jones is one of the final 17 prospects vying for one of 12 roster spots and hoping to represent his country in Argentina later this month at the FIBA Americas U-16 Championship.
His brother, Tyus, won three gold medals playing for Team USA at the U-18, U-17 and U-16 levels from 2011 through 2014. He added to that resume when he helped Duke win the national title in Indianapolis in April.
“I don’t want to put that pressure on myself,” Jones said about the constant comparisons to his brother. “I’ve just got to only worry about myself and not worry about what anybody says or how they compare me and him. I’ve just got to worry about myself and keep working hard.”
RELATED: Watch video highlights from tryouts
Jones, a 6-foot-2 guard in the Class of 2018 from Apple Valley, Minn., was one of several late additions to the U-16 tryouts this spring. But he is no stranger to what goes into making the national team.
When he was younger, he would shoot at these same rims in Colorado Springs before and after practices in which his brother was competing for a spot on the team. He knows the lay of the land here better than the rest of the players here.
He also has played his share of games with his brother growing up and more recently with other Duke players such as Jahlil Okafor. It has brought an uncommon maturity to his game at 15. There were some battles with Tyus growing up that occasionally led to fisticuffs because both were so competitive.
“I’ve learned a lot from him,” Jones said. “He’s a great person. He’s real humble. He’s always working hard. His work ethic is out of this world.”
Head coach Don Showalter said he sees a lot of similarities between Tre and Tyus Jones and this stage of their development and he would rate Tre ahead of his big brother when it comes to playing defense.
“Tre has really done a nice job of just being his own kind of guy, his own player,” Showalter said. “I think he looks at Tyus with a lot of pride, but I don’t think it has a lot to do with his game. Tre is his own guy.
“I look back on both of them at U-16 and Tre has some qualities that are a little better than Tyus had. He’s a better defender. Tre is long and can get in to you. That is one of the reasons he’s on the team right now is because of his defensive abilities. He really has a calming influence. You notice him out there and players just kind of like playing with him. He makes the right play. He could be special.”
Tre Jones helped lead Apple Valley to the Minnesota 4A state title last season averaging 10 points, three rebounds, five assists and three steals. His high school teammate, Gary Trent Jr., is also one of the final 17 players remaining on the U-16 team.
Jones said he isn’t close to satisfied with anything in his game right now, but he believes this opportunity it making him better.
He aims to be a better leader and be ready for the big moment whenever his might come.
Girls Volleyball 3d ago
The regional’s best of 2021
Girls Volleyball Super 25 3d ago
The nation’s 25 best girls volleyball of the 2021 season