Reporting Mike Max
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Forty of the top high school all-star basketball teams are in town this weekend for the most talent-filled tournament this state has ever seen in Eagan.
The Nike Tournament will bring in the top AAU coaches and players from around the country, and you’ll probably see many of them playing college basketball on television in a few years. There are also going to be Minnesota players from the local Howard Pulley team.
One local fits the category of “blue chipper.” Every major Division I program in the country wants to get a look at Apple Valley sophomore Tyus Jones. He is the featured piece of the weekend as far as Minnesota talent. He’s a national draw, Jones is just that good.
“At this point in the class from what I hear and what I see he is the No. 1 point guard in the sophomore class in the country, which is phenomenal,” said Antwan Harris, the coach of the 17-and-under Howard Pulley AAU basketball team that Jones plays on in the summer.
This spotlight is his. The coaches are not just watching him this weekend, they’re hoping he likes them.
“It’s just fun. It’s just a great opportunity for me to play,” Jones said. “It’s for Minnesota guys to play, to get out of state and play these other guys from all over, so it’s just a great opportunity.”
What he does is run a team like he does for Apple Valley High School. He is in charge on the floor, he has the ability to make decisions combined with a natural athletic talent that makes him stand out to everyone.
“Floor leader, distributor and also going to be looking to score some. I just try to do it all,” Jones said.
That’s what he has done since he stepped on a floor. All the major colleges want him, all the coaches want to watch him this weekend. The only catch is none of them can talk to him right now. That’s an ncaa rule, so he is just playing and wondering a little.
“You definitely wonder what they’re thinking but you just have to block that out and just play your own game. Not try to let them affect how you’re playing,” Jones said.
That’s what makes him different: They want to see him, and they will fly from all over the country to get a look.
“Every coach in America will be at the gym watching us so that will be pretty fun,” Pulley said.
Jones’ Howard Pulley Panthers play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at High Point Academy in Eagan and the tournament will go on all weekend at that facility.