Updated: 11/15/2013 3:57 PM KSTP.com By: Chris Long
Wearing a Duke University hat, Tyus Jones addresses a packed gym at Apple Valley High School moments after announcing he'll attend college at Duke
Apple Valley's Tyus Jones sits on the bench during a game in the 2012-2013 season
He's been on the national recruiting radar since he was an 8th grader. Finally, Apple Valley star Tyus Jones has made his college choice official.
Jones will be attending Duke University, which beat out Kansas in the end. The announcement came in a ceremony at the Apple Valley gym which was broadcast to a national audience on ESPNU.
He previously eliminated Baylor and Minnesota from his final list of choices.
"He's a legend," Jones said of the choice to play for Duke coach Mike Kryzyzewski. "He's coached for many years and is arguably one of the greatest coaches of all time. He's a great basketball mind and I'll learn a tremendous amount under him."
Over the course of his high school career, Jones has been ranked as high as #1 among recruits in the class of 2014.
Jones will be joined at Duke by Jahlil Okafor, a fellow elite recruit from the Chicago area whom he forged a friendship with by playing on AAU and US national teams. The two have been friends since third grade. Okafor is currently tabbed as the #1 recruit in the nation by ESPN, who has Jones rated 4th.
The two made the decision simultaneously on the ESPNU broadcast.
"We chose together," Jones said about making the choice along with Okafor. "We sat down and figured what would be the best fit for both of us to go and make an impact our freshman year. We felt Duke was the right fit, and that we'd be able to succeed there."
"Tyus is like a brother to me," Okafor said on the announcement telecast. "Even if you take basketball out of the equation, he's a guy I'd like to be in college with."
Jones helped Apple Valley win the Class AAA State Championship in 2013. Jones and the Eagles hit the floor to begin their title defense next week.
He has also been a member of several US National teams, which has taken him all over the world to play.
Jones, along with fellow seniors Reid Travis of DeLaSalle and Rashad Vaughn formerly of Robbinsdale Cooper have long been referred to as Minnesota's "Big Three" - the most highly sought-after trio of recruits the state has ever seen.
Travis declared and signed with Stanford University last week. Vaughn, who is playing his senior year for a school in Nevada, has yet to declare.