Five-star 2016 forward aims for pre-fall commitment, notes North Carolina’s NCAA issues

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Jayson Tatum is considered to be one of the best players in the Class of 2016, and the 6-foot-8 St. Louis native has kept his recruitment tidy when compared to other players of similar regard over the years. In the spring Tatum trimmed his list down to just four schools- Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and Saint Louis; three traditional powers and the hometown school where his father Justin played during the 1990’s.

According to a report from News 4 KMOV in St. Louis, Tatum will likely make his college decision “in the next month or two.” Also of note in the report is the fact that North Carolina’s ongoing NCAA investigation is a concern, as was the case for 2015 five-star forward Brandon Ingram. Ingram ultimately chose Duke earlier this spring.

Brian Feldman of News 4 KMOV wrote the following about Tatum’s recruitment:

The top recruit in the country, as ranked by ESPN, says he’ll likely decide which school he’ll go to in the next month or two. It’ll definitely be before school starts in the fall. Interestingly enough, Tatum said he’s down to two schools (though he wouldn’t officially say which two they were).

Reading between the lines, Tatum talked a ton about SLU and Duke. He cited concern over North Carolina’s pending academic issues with the NCAA. Many who follow the situation strongly believe Tatum is deciding between staying home (and being a Billiken) and going to play for Duke and legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Tatum saying that he’s down to two schools is a big deal, but it’s also noted that he didn’t divulge which schools remain in the running. Either way he’d be a huge addition for any of the schools on the list, especially the hometown school that hasn’t had the best luck when it comes to keeping elite talent in St. Louis.

As for North Carolina, even with Tatum not revealing the final two this is another sign that from a recruiting standpoint they need the NCAA solution resolved as soon as possible. The school still hasn’t released the Notice of Allegations it received from the NCAA, although there have been reports that UNC may do so this week.

UNC had 90 days from the day that it received the NOA to respond to the NCAA, and from that point the governing body will be able to take the next step in the process. That may wind up being too late for Tatum, but with other highly-regarded prospects on the board (and a veteran team heading into 2015-16) a relatively quick resolution would help Roy Williams’ program moving forward.