Jayson Tatum was a top recruit coming out of high school and college. He’s originally from Missouri where he attended Chaminade College Preparatory School and became a hit on his school basketball team. In his freshman year he averaged 13.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game before making a massive improvement the following year with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Tatum’s following two seasons only cemented his talent before ending his senior year with 29.6 points and 9.1 rebounds which earned him an invitation to the McDonald’s All-American Game. He finished off his high school year being named Gatorade National Player of the Year before committing to Duke University.
At Duke, Jayson Tatum was expected to do great things. He was ranked as the number three player in the nation and a five-star recruit. Luckily, he lived up to those expectations in his freshman season with a successful career with the Blue Devils. He helped lead his team to the ACC Championship where Duke would actually win. However, his success in college helped him decide to enter the draft in 2017 rather than remain to play his final three years. Tatum ended his career with an average of 16.8 points, 1.1 blocks, 1.3 steals, 2.1 assists, 7.3 rebounds, and 45.2% field goal percentage per game. It was a major blow for Duke to lose one of their star players so early in his career, but ultimately Tatum was prepared to start his time in the NBA sooner than most.
Unsurprisingly, Jayson Tatum was projected to be chosen in the first round of the draft. He ultimately was taken third by the Boston Celtics. He proved to fans why he was chosen after having a knockout season in the NBA Summer League. Tatum averaged 18.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game in Utah during the summer while he had equally impressive statistics in Las Vegas with 17.7 points, 8 rebounds, and 0.8 steals per game. His performance throughout the summer led to Tatum being named All-Summer League Second Team with a few other rookies. However, his praise has been sung by many of his teammates and Tatum is expected to be a major asset to the Celtics team. Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown have constantly spoken about how incredible the young rookie is as a shooter and a teammate. It isn’t that surprising that Irving, who is also a former Duke player, would see potential in Tatum but it’s definitely nice to see his team rooting for him.
How will Jayson Tatum do this year? He’s only nineteen years old and has one year of experience of his belt going up against many veteran players. While this would setback many players, it doesn’t seem like Tatum is the kind of person who would allow his inexperience to become an obstacle. Working alongside a veteran like Kyrie Irving will only help Tatum develop over time and he will most likely help rocket the Celtics into playoff contention. The real question won’t be whether he will do well this year but how well. Will he be a rookie leading his team to the NBA Championship or only to the playoffs? Only time will tell.