By: Dan Slaubaugh
Young players all around the NBA are poised to find their road to success. They work their keesters off to make a mark in the league they've dreamed about playing in since they first touched a basketball. There is no question they deserve a lot of credit for where they are today. However, a large reason for their success that unfortunately sometimes goes unnoticed is because of the love and support of their mothers.
I was able to catch up with Debbie Jones - mother of Tyus and a prime example of a wonderful, supportive mother - on how the last few years have been for her with her middle son playing professional basketball and her youngest waiting to make a decision on where to play college basketball in 2018.
Dan: Tyus was a basketball phenom throughout his AAU and high school days. What was it like having your middle son garner so much attention at such a young age?
Debbie: It is a blessing and honor looking at how much attention Tyus has received starting at a very young age. He has embraced the whole process knowing the attention comes with the territory of what he worked so hard to do.
Dan: Was there a moment you realized that Tyus could potentially play in the NBA? If so, when was it?
Debbie: From the time Tyus picked up a ball when he was just a few years old, it was apparent he was advanced beyond his years. Even at such a young age it was impressive not only how he excelled athletically but how he would think the game and talk about the game. In the third grade when an AAU coach approached him to try out for his team, he told Tyus he was going to be a Pro. For me, I believe, the realization became serious after Tyus was selected to the USA team when he was 15.
Dan: What was it like during Tyus’s freshman year of college having him so far away from home?
Debbie: It was different having him far away but as a family we made a plan for how we would routinely be able to see him whether it was going to Duke or seeing him on the road. It did involve lots of travel and time away from work but putting that plan in place allowed us to be able to spend lots of time with him his freshman year of college.
Dan: What emotions were you feeling when the Wolves traded for Tyus on draft night?
Debbie: It is difficult to find the words to describe all our emotions that night. Amazing, unbelievable and pure joy don’t even begin to describe our feelings.
Dan: Do you ever think about what it would be like if Tyus played for Cleveland?
Debbie: I suppose there are times we have thought about that…but we are so blessed with how everything has turned out. Having Tyus playing at home and being able to see him on a regular basis is truly special.
Dan: Has Tyus bought you anything really nice?
Debbie: Yes he has. Tyus is very thoughtful but smart about his purchases.
Dan: Was it a little overwhelming thinking about your 19-year old son traveling the country to perform in front of large crowds of people for an 82-game season?
Debbie: Yes it is overwhelming but knowing how Tyus handles things is reassuring. We also make sure we stay involved with the process so he has anything he needs.
Dan: Tyus has performed well in his limited minutes this season and taken advantage of his opportunities, yet hasn’t quite been able to find a consistent role in the Thibodeau’s rotation. Through it all, however, Tyus maintains a professional attitude and does what’s best for the team. Are you proud of the way he’s handling things?
Debbie: I am so proud of Tyus and his professionalism with everything. He truly understands the big picture and what it takes to be a professional. Tyus focuses on what he can control and that has served him well throughout his basketball career.
Dan: Do you try to make all of Tyus’ games? What happens if Tyus and Tre play on the same night (assuming both games are home)?
Debbie: I do try to make all the home games but not without some conflicts with Tre’s schedule.
Dan: Who do you love more? Jadee, Tyus or Tre? Lol
Debbie: I love all three of my boys more:-)
Dan: And now you have Tre, who is going through the same situation as Tyus did back in his recruitment period. Are things less chaotic this time around?
Debbie: Things may be a little less chaotic with Tre’s recruitment in part because we have already built relationships with coaches as a result of Tyus’ recruitment. We continue to appreciate and enjoy the process of Tre being recruited, and look forward to his bright future as well.