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Final Four: The biggest stage awaits 'big-game player' Tyus Jones


From his first varsity basketball game as an eighth grader at Apple Valley High School to Saturday's NCAA Final Four game between the Duke Blue Devils and Michigan State Spartans, Minnesota native Tyus Jones has been shining on the biggest stage.

Bleacher Report has a feature column on the freshman point guard titled, "Tyus Jones was Born to Play in the Final Four."

Jones will start at point guard for Duke, and if the Blue Devils win the national championship, Jones will become just the second freshman point guard to start for a national title-winning team, Bleacher Report says.

"The bigger the moment," teammate Grayson Allen said, "the better he plays."

"The five years he was here we consistently played in front of full gyms," Apple Valley basketball coach Zach Goring said of Jones, thinking back to the five years Jones was played for the Eagles. "Wherever he went, there was a big crowd. We'd play in events where there's games in front of us and three games before we would even play, the stands are packed just because they want a chance to watch Tyus play.

"He's used to that. He's always risen to the occasion."

This is will be Jones' second opportunity to slay the Spartans. Jones scored all 17 of his points in the second half of Duke's 81-71 win over Michigan State earlier this season. News-Observer called it the game that showed Jones was a "big-game player."

In Duke's other marquee games this season, Jones averaged 23 points in a pair of wins over North Carolina and 22 points in wins over St. John's and Wisconsin, whom Duke could possibly play in the national title game.

The bigger the stage the better Jones seems to play, and he'll be on his biggest stage yet Saturday in Indianapolis.

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