Jayson Tatum was convinced by Mike Krzyzewski to enter 2017 draft
However, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski convinced Tatum to enter the 2017 draft. The talented swingman listened to the legendary coach and wound up getting drafted by the Celtics with the third overall pick.
Tatum, one of the best scorers in the NBA now, talked about his one year at Duke and decision to turn pro with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on All The Smoke:
“That was like the most fun I ever had in my life…I’m still close with a lot of the guys on the team that I was there for a year with,” the Celtics star said about his one year at Duke.
“I still talk to the coaches all the time. I go back in the summertime when I can. After the season, after we lost, I talked to Coach K and obviously I wanted to go to the League, but there was a part of me that wanted to come back to Duke for another year. I had that much fun just being a college basketball player and enjoying it.
“But Coach K was like, ‘Nah, you’ve got to go. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.’”
Tatum averaged 13.9 points and 5.0 rebounds as a rookie. The Celtics youngster even had a monster poster dunk on LeBron James in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals. LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers won, but Tatum clearly sent a message to the league with that dunk on The King.
Before the 2019-20 season was suspended due to COVID-19, Tatum was averaging 23.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists for the Celtics in 59 games. He was also shooting 44.8 percent from the field, 39.8 percent from beyond the arc and 80.6 percent from the free-throw line.
Boston fans are praying the season resumes in the summer since their Celtics had a good chance of competing for the Eastern Conference crown.