Chaminade’s Jayson Tatum has been rated the No. 1 basketball player in the junior class in the nation by scout.com.
The 6-foot-9 guard has offers to play at Kentucky, Duke, Florida, North Carolina and any other school with a scholarship to offer. He spent his summer not just playing basketball, but playing basketball for his country and traveling to Dubai, United Arab Emirates to compete in the World Championships – playing on the Under-17 USA team.
The two-time defending champion USA team was pushed to the limit before a close 99-97 win over Australia. Tatum played in seven games in the tournament. He averaged 11.3 points and 3.1 rebounds a game.
“We had a lot of fun,” Tatum said in an interview after the championship game. “I’m so glad to be able to do it. Being with these guys for 30 days and all the hard work of practicing twice a day and then flying over here, it paid off.
“I have a lot of pride for our country. We are able to bring the gold medal back to America.”
The USA went 3-0 in preliminary games. Team USA defeated Greece 83-73, Angola 99-56, and the Phillippines 124-64. In the quarterfinals, Team USA scored a 113-71 win over China. In the semifinal, Team USA beat Serbia 89-68.
The win over Australia extended the USA’s undefeated run to 15 matches – a run that started with the inaugural World Championship held in Hamburg, Germany in 2010.
The title game was a match-up between the likes of Malek Newman, Diamond Stone and Tatum up against Isaac Humphries, Dejan Vasiljevic and Harry Froling. The Americans walked away with a third straight crown.
“Any of the other top five from other teams can match our starting five. It is the other seven players who come in later that makes the difference for us,” American coach Donald Showalter said. “We are aware of the strengths of these young players. When we come to a competition, we come with the best 12 and it is the seven who are on the bench that give us the advantage and we need to make use of that.”