By Mike Max

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — You have to go way back to Sam Jacobson to remember a player that created this much basketball buzz.

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Tyus Jones is that player. They come to watch him, and he’s such a draw that they worry about getting in the gym.

“People are constantly concerned that if they come, they’re going to lock the doors,” coach Zach Goring said. “They say, ‘Am I going to get in?’ I get those emails all the time. I tell them, just come.”

The junior has been worth the ticket, in large part because of the way he plays the game. He runs the show, and he’s in charge.

“Basketball is a game and you’re supposed to have fun playing the game,” Jones said.

Through it all he’s trying to remember he’s still a high school student. A celebrity, but still a kid.

“I still go about school the right way and have fun with my teachers,” he said.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has been a frequent visitor, because Jones is the No. 1-ranked point guard in the country, and that means every great program has visited.

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Now, he’s narrowed that list to seven.

“Baylor, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State,” he said.

But Jones has never played at the Target Center in March — his teams have been beaten twice in the section finals.

“It drives me a lot, and means a lot to me,” he said. “That’s the next goal.”

And this team is not just about him — they are loaded.

“Tyus is a kid that can lead first and foremost,” Goring said. “A tremendous basketball player, but a really good kid, too.”

These days are precious and special in Apple Valley, because you don’t get this much talent in one player very often.

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Apple Valley plays Bloomington Kennedy Saturday night in the section semi finals.

Mike Max