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'I knew it was in him': Jayson Tatum's high school coach talks his path to the Olympics

"He was always the first one there. Last one to leave. Working on his craft."

ST. LOUIS — Several players at the Tokyo Olympics are from the St. Louis area. Like Chaminade graduate Jayson Tatum. His run to the summer games has been an impressive one. 

But one man said he saw this greatness from the start.

"Knew early on that, that kid had greatness in him," said Kelvin Lee, Tatum's former coach. "Very skilled. And I picked up on that when he was an 8th grader when he came to my camp."

Lee is currently the head basketball coach at University City High School, but coached Tatum when he was a freshman at Chaminade. He also coached Bradley Beal and David Lee, who both went on to the NBA. Lee said Tatum could do it all.

"His skill set was such that he can dribble, pass and shoot like no other," said Lee. "And then he can go inside. That versatility of Jayson is unparalleled."

Tatum went on to play college basketball at Duke and now plays for the Boston Celtics.

"When Jayson got strength, his game just went to another level," said Lee. "And that's how he's had success in the league."

"I always told him, 'it's up to you now, your passion for the game and your work ethic,'" said Lee.

That work ethic scored Tatum several honors including McDonald's All American and the National Gatorade Player of the Year.

"He's taken this thing to another level because after practice he would just stay in the gym," said Lee. "He was always the first one there, last one to leave, working on his craft."

"Jayson was always starving for knowledge," said Lee. "Those are keywords. Always hungry. Greatness. NBA. Now Olympics. I knew it was in him."

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