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Big Stage for Tre Jones Tuesday Night


Apple Valley’s Tre Jones will be on the biggest stage of his life tomorrow night when he makes his college debut in Duke’s game against Kentucky. The ESPN nationally-televised matchup of No. 4 Duke and No. 2 Kentucky is part of a network doubleheader Tuesday evening from Indianapolis that includes No. 1 Kansas and No. 10 Michigan State.

“It will be exciting, and I know he is looking forward to that,” Tyus Jones said about his younger brother who is following his path as a starting freshman point guard at Duke.

Tyus Jones

Tre and Tyus led Apple Valley to state championships. Tyus, in his one season at Duke, helped the Blue Devils to the 2016 national championship and was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player.

As for advice from older brother to younger bro, Tyus said: “Continue to be yourself but at the same time soak everything in just because it’s something (college) that will fly by. You’re also playing for the greatest coach of all time (Mike Krzyzewski). So he is someone that every single day he can teach you something new. So make sure you’re paying attention. …”

Tyus is in his third season with the NBA Timberwolves, and a West Coast road trip with the team won’t allow him to be in Indy for tomorrow night’s game. However, he is looking for an opportunity later to attend one of his brother’s games. “It’ll be tough but gonna make something work,” Tyus told Sports Headliners.

Tyus isn’t the only Wolves player interested in the Blue Devils-Wildcats game. Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns played for the Wildcats in the 2015 Final Four and knows about the rivalry of Duke-Kentucky, two of college basketball’s historic power schools.

Towns was asked about a possible wager with Tyus for tomorrow night’s game. He answered emphatically and said: “No, but I know for a fact that he better be ready for the trash talking that goes with that game. …”

Minnesota viewers of Duke-Kentucky will also have home town interest in the game because Reid Travis from Minneapolis plays for the Wildcats. The senior 6-foot-8 forward transferred from Stanford where last season he averaged 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds. He was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection.

Worth Noting

Tyus is a restricted free agent after this season. He has never played for another NBA team except the Wolves and realizes he is fortunate to be in his home state.

“You know, I’ve always said I’d like to stay here,” he said.

Jones, who has mostly been a reserve with the Wolves, said there were no talks about a new contract during the past offseason. “We’ll revisit it after the season…and try to get something done. So I know it’s not personal. It’s part of the business.”

Sports Illustrated’s college basketball issue that came out last week has only three Big Ten teams in its top 25—Michigan State No. 10, Michigan 18 and Purdue 20. The issue includes an eight-page feature on former Wolves assistant coach Eric Musselman whose Nevada team is ranked No. 6 in the nation just three-plus years after taking over the Wolf Pack.

The magazine reported Musselman earns $1 million per year, after starting at $400,000. Talk about a bargain.

JT Gibson, the 2015 Minnesota Mr. Basketball, is a redshirt junior guard on the Omaha team the Gophers host tomorrow night at Williams Arena. The former Champlin Park prep played in 31 games last season, started 12, and averaged 10.2 points per game. The Summit League Mavericks had a 9-22 overall record last season, 4-10 in conference games.

All 14 Big Ten teams have games from November 6-9. Minnesota’s second game of the season, November 12 at home against Utah, figures to be one of the most entertaining on the early schedule.

The football Gophers gave up 646 yards to a poor Illinois team Saturday while losing 55-31. A friend asked via text if Gopher teams coached by Tracy Claeys ever gave up that many yards. As interim head coach for six games in 2015, and then as head coach in 2016, the most yards was 506 versus Iowa in 2015.

Known for his defensive coaching intelligence, Claeys coached the Gophers to a 40-17 win at Illinois two years ago when Minnesota gave up 245 yards.

The NFL is moving the Vikings-Bears game November 18 in Chicago from a start time of noon to 7:20 p.m.  The game will be telecast by NBC instead of Fox as originally scheduled.

The game’s winner could take a significant step toward winning the NFC North Division title.  Pittsburgh at Jacksonville had originally been scheduled for the nationally televised 7:20 p.m. slot.

Bill Brown, the former Vikings fullback who died yesterday, played in the 1960s when NFLers helped support themselves and their families with offseason jobs. Brown was a substitute teacher in the Minneapolis school system.

Chad Beebe, the Vikings rookie wide receiver who made his NFL debut yesterday after moving up from the practice squad, is interested in a career in corporate communications if pro football doesn’t work out for him.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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