FARGO — Debbie (Deutsch) Jones now has company as a former North Dakota high school basketball standout who is a parent of an NBA player. It’s an exclusive club.
The mother of Tyus and Tre Jones is a 1981 graduate of Devils Lake High School who was a Miss Basketball finalist. Several year later, Tyrone Terry of Valley was North Dakota’s Mr. Basketball in 2000 at Valley City High School and last week, his son Tyrell Terry from Stanford was the first pick in the second round in the NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks.
Ten picks later, Tre Jones, was taken by the San Antonio Spurs. Tre Jones played two years with Duke and was the point guard in the Blue Devils’ 2019 NCAA tournament win over North Dakota State. Tyus Jones has been in the NBA since he was a first round draft choice in the 2015 NBA Draft.
“It’s awesome getting some North Dakota ties to the NBA,” said Tyrone Terry.
Tyrone spent two years at North Dakota State before transferring to Valley City State for his last two seasons. Tyrell Terry, a 6-foot-3 point guard, was a four-year starter at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, a period that saw the Islanders win three state titles.
The first two were under head coach Dave Thorson, a Fargo South graduate who is currently an assistant at Colorado State.
“I was joking with some people here in Minnesota, basketball is our family business,” Tyrone said. “It’s done so much for me personally and it’s opened so many doors for me. At the same time, it opened an astonishing number of doors for Tyrell. He’s been in great situations since he’s been in youth basketball.”
How he went from a promising, small and skinny guard as a freshman at DeLaSalle to a major college prospect was an exercise in development.
“It was always an uphill battle,” Tyrone said. “Tyrell wasn’t getting recruited at all.”
So Tyrone went back to his North Dakota connections, specifically taking Tyrell to a camp at the University of Nebraska, where former Mayville State and NDSU head coach Tim Miles was leading the program.
Tyrone said his son was “dominating” an age group of younger players. So, he said, Miles put him in a group of older players, mostly juniors and seniors.
“He stood out there,” Tyrone said. “Miles said the same thing. He has a lot of skill, can shoot and create but he’s just so small. I was like, he’s going to grow into his body, I was small like that, too.”
It’s no surprise, then, that Tyrell’s first college scholarship offers had North Dakota ties. They came from the likes of Nebraska, Northern Iowa and South Dakota. UNI head coach Ben Jacobson grew up in Mayville and was a former Bison and University of North Dakota assistant. Craig Smith, then at USD and currently at Utah State, was also an assistant at Mayville and NDSU.
“It was almost like everybody in that NDSU tree started offering a scholarship,” Tyrone said.
Stanford, however, eventually won out.
“When Stanford came into the picture, I told him there is no other school where you’ll get a full scholarship with that type of education, that type of conference and they’re going to give you the ball from Day 1,” Tyrone said. “It was a no-brainer.”
It wasn’t a no-brainer if Tyrell was going to come out early for the NBA Draft after one season, however. He averaged 14.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists as a freshman and shot 41% from 3-point range.
The last few months, the decision to leave early, weren’t easy, Tyrone said.
“When Tyrell showed interest in going to the NBA, the biggest thing was we thought we had an agreement he wouldn’t leave Stanford, it’s a great education and he didn’t need the money financially,” Tyrone said. “Say you’re a lottery pick, that would be good. So when it was 10 to 25 and the names started getting called, it was, oh man, it’s getting stressful. Then it was he’s not going to go in the first round. But luckily he was the first pick in the second round.”
For Tyrell, it’s on to Dallas and time to begin working as a professional. Tyrone, meanwhile, will continue his career in basketball with his Mr. Basketball Academy based out of Elk River, Minn.
“We do a lot of camps and clinics, one-on-one skill development,” he said. “Just trying to build that business.”