Jayson Tatum is having a career year, in the conversation for an MVP award. Although his odds may not be the best, he still sits at the top of the league in production. With such an incredible season as a player and with his team, basketball fans have become acutely aware of Tatum’s ability as he tears up their favorite team. As fans watch on unhappily, many do not know enough about him and his career. He may seem great now, but how he got to the NBA was just as impressive.
Tatum’s basketball journey began at Chaminade College Preparatory School in St. Louis, where he immediately became a dominant player. As a junior, he led his team to a Missouri State Championship, averaging 26 points and 11 rebounds per game. In his senior year, he drastically improved his numbers, averaging 29.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, earning himself a spot in the McDonald’s All-American Game.
Duke Blue Devils
After a successful high school career, Tatum committed to Duke University, where he spent one season playing for the Blue Devils. During his freshman year, Tatum played in 29 games, averaging 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. He was named to the All-ACC Third Team, the ACC All-Freshman Team, and was a finalist for the Julius Erving Award, given to the nation’s top small forward.
After his freshman year at Duke, Tatum declared for the 2017 NBA Draft, where he was selected third overall by the Boston Celtics. He made an immediate impact during his rookie season, starting in 80 games and averaging 13.9 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He helped lead the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games.
In his second year in the league, Tatum continued to improve, averaging 15.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. He earned a selection to his first All-Star game and helped lead the Celtics to the playoffs, where they lost in the second round to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Tatum’s breakout season came in the 2019-2020 campaign, where he emerged as one of the league’s top young stars. He averaged 23.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game, earning his second All-Star selection. Tatum’s stellar play helped lead the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Miami Heat in six games.
In the 2020-2021 season, Tatum continued to impress, averaging 26.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. He was once again named an All-Star, and he helped lead the Celtics to the playoffs, where they lost in the first round to the Brooklyn Nets.
What Makes Tatum So Special?
Tatum’s skillset as a basketball player is multifaceted. He is a versatile scorer who can get a bucket from anywhere on the court, and his size and athleticism allow him to create mismatches against the opposition. He is also an excellent defender, using his length and quickness to disrupt opposing players. Finally, Tatum is a great teammate and leader, possessing a strong work ethic and a desire to improve his game every day.
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