Whether it’s playing chess, ping-pong, or his go-to sport, basketball, there are not many more competitive guys than Tyrese Maxey. Known for his advanced scoring abilities and outgoing personality, the top-25 junior touched on his transition to the point guard spot, his college recruitment, who he studies from the NBA level and what it would be like to be recruited by Kentucky.
Corey Evans: Talk to me about your strengths; what do you do best as a ballplayer?
Tyrese Maxey: I compete. I feel like I am competitor. I really don’t like to lose. I am a point guard but more of a scorer first. I feel like I can get to my spots and score but I have been working on making my teammates better and of course, I like to compete on defense.
CE: Back to the point guard transition; what is the hidden values that you have at that spot? What makes you one and why do you want to be one at the next level?
TM: I feel like I play best whenever I am on the ball as a point guard. The first two sessions of Nike, I didn’t play as much on the ball but once De’Vion (Harmon) got hurt, I played on the ball more and I feel like my game really elevated from there. I can manage the game well and help us win games.
CE: Do you want to be recruited as a point guard?
TM: Yes sir.
CE: Right now, are there any schools recruiting you primarily as a point guard and others as scoring guard?
TM: Everybody says that I am a point guard but I don’t always have to have the ball in my hands. Like a Kyrie Irving type of point guard, someone that is on the ball but can also play off the ball and make things happen like that. Most schools are recruiting me like a point guard, though.
CE: Talking about Kyrie, are there are any guys that you watch and try to take things from?
TM: I kind of take things from De’Aaron Fox, especially defensively. Coach (John) Calipari had him playing really aggressive defense, which really bothered other teams, which I like a lot.
CE: Recruiting has continued to escalate. Who all are you in touch with the most often?
TM: USC was my most recent offer but I would say I am hearing a good amount from Baylor, Texas, Michigan State, Oregon, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Arizona State. I would say those are the ones that are on me really, really hard.
CE: What are your feelings on Texas and Shaka Smart?
TM: Coach Smart is cool. I like his vibe. I call him a high energy guy like myself. He called me the other day and I was just getting out of the gym and he was like, ‘I am just getting out of the gym, too.’ He is real cool. We have a great relationship.
CE: Baylor was one of the first to offer you. What stands out to you about them?
TM: Their whole entire staff is pretty cool. Coach (Jerome) Tang, Coach (Alvin) Brooks and coach Scott Drew are really cool. They stay in touch with me and my parents. They text us; I really feel like they are close to home and do a good job of staying in touch.
CE: Speaking on your newest offer, USC offers you the West Coast and the Pac-12. What about those guys stands out?
TM: They are in the Pac-12, of course, and coach (Chris) Capko was telling me that they are trying to get guys to the league and have been making things happen in recent years. They have won more games than they used to and got to the NCAA Tournament; they are just trying to turn that program around and think that I can help with it.
TM: Oklahoma lets you play your game and freelance. I was watching a video on Trae Young a couple of days ago at practice and he was just getting off and doing his thing. They let their players go and allow for their guys to have fun and do what they do best.
CE: What other schools haven’t offered you just yet but are telling you that they will be watching you closely throughout the month of July?
CE: You talked about studying De’Aaron Fox; what would it mean to be recruited by Kentucky?
TM: That would be great. Coach Calipari does a very good job of getting his guys to the league and that is my ultimate goal. It is definitely a good school to look into and is a program that tries to make big things happen and gets to the tournament every year.