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5-star recruit Jayson Tatum has the basketball world in the palm of his hand

The 6'8 wing is making his college decision soon, with Duke, Kentucky, UNC and Saint Louis waiting anxiously.

Francois Nel/Getty Images

Jayson Tatum flew to Uruguay to put on a USA Basketball jersey for the first time two years ago, just months after his 15th birthday. Two years from now, he's likely to be flying to Las Vegas for his rookie experience at NBA Summer League, a few weeks removed from being selected with one of the top picks in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Life comes at you fast as a basketball prodigy, but somehow Jayson Tatum never seems to be in a hurry.

Tatum heads into his senior year at Chaminade College Prep in Saint Louis as one of three elite talents sitting at the top of the class of 2016 rankings. He just won his third gold medal with USA Basketball as the youngest member of the FIBA U19 World Championship team. Despite being two grade levels behind many of the other players in the tournament, Tatum was as productive as anyone in the field.

Now Tatum is set to end years of speculation before returning to Chaminade for his final year of high school. His college decision is coming soon, and he's down to four schools: Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and his hometown Saint Louis Billikens. If he selects one of the first three schools on that list, it's going to lead to rampant speculation that Harry Giles could follow.

Giles was another class of 2016 star on USA Basketball's U19 team. The two were roommates in Greece, have known each other since they were 11 years old and and could swing the 2017 national title picture in college basketball all by themselves. If college is only going to be a one-year pit stop before the NBA, why not team up with your self-described "best friend" and try to win a championship?

For now, speculation over package deals and NBA draft position 23 months away is all premature. Tatum is on center stage at Nike's Peach Jam bonanza this weekend playing his final games with the only AAU team he's ever known -- the St. Louis Eagles -- and then will return to his hometown and consider his college choices one last time before announcing his decision.

For a player with such a bright and wealthy future ahead of him, it's a wonder that Tatum still seems like a normal 17-year-old. LeBron James was already a small business unto himself in the summer entering his senior year of high school, but Tatum prefers to talk about his favorite pizza and his dog rather than the millions awaiting him. That calm demeanor manifests itself in his game, too.

Tatum didn't become an elite prospect by virtue of world-class athleticism like Andrew Wiggins or by physically overpowering people like Jahlil Okafor. Instead, Tatum's game is measured and well-rounded, with a skill set that's already far beyond his years. Tatum isn't the type of high school player that leaves you dreaming about his upside, because he's already that good right now.

Tatum scored 97 points in seven games at the U19 championship, just one point behind Giles and Jalen Brunson for the team lead. His complete game was in full effect, as he also pulled down 4.7 rebounds, dished out 2.1 assists and grabbed 1.9 steals per game. There were multiple instances when he looked like the best player on the floor, like when he scored 22 points in 22 minutes on 10-of-15 shooting against eventual silver medalist Croatia in group play.

Tatum also used the tournament to create what will be remembered as the first highlight reel play of his career. Against Greece in the semifinals, Tatum went up with one hand and banged a dunk on an opposing defender with so much force it bloodied his nose:

While the dunk was passed around social media thousands of times, it's not exactly indicative of the type of player Tatum is. Instead, he's refined and calculated on the court, giving off the impression of a player who is always thinking two steps ahead.

Tatum's secondary playmaking potential out of a 6'8 wing is going to make one lucky college coach very happy. He's already a master at reading defenses and has demonstrated a willingness to make the easy pass rather than forcing his own offense.

Here, Tatum attacks a closeout, drives to the center of the floor and finds Josh Jackson for a layup:

Of course, that type of play is only possible if defenses respect his jump shot. Tatum has the potential to grow into a knock down shooter with a smooth stroke and high release. He hit 4-of-10 three-pointers in the U19 tournament and drained a variety of long twos that should have scouts feeling good about how his shot projects.

Tatum doesn't have the fastest release, but for now the important thing is that he doesn't hurry. When he has time, he takes it:

If there's something that sets Tatum apart from his peers, it's his feel for the game. That might be a difficult assertion to back up with analytics, but anyone who has watched Tatum notices his high basketball IQ almost immediately. He has a bag of tricks he uses for substance, not style.

When Tatum needs space for himself or teammates, he always seems to find a way to create it. Whether it's on Eurosteps in transition or pivots in the halfcourt, Tatum is able to carve out as much room as he needs to shoot or pass whenever he wants to:

If there weren't a rule in place to prevent it, Tatum would have the option of skipping college altogether to head to the NBA Draft. Giles and Jackson would likely be right behind him. There's almost no question that he could star for a college basketball team today, months before he returns to the Chaminade court to begin his senior season of high school.

Everyone else might be ready to project future stardom for Tatum, but he doesn't seem to be in any rush. With a personality and a game that's both sophisticated and deliberate, Tatum knows his dreams will come true before long. At this point, it's really only a matter of time.