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Prep Rally

Strange pregame ritual working wonders for top-ranked sophomore Jayston Tatum

Ben Rohrbach
Prep Rally

Every athlete has his own routine prior to a sporting event -- some more unusual than others -- and Chaminade College Prep (St. Louis) sophomore wing Jayson Tatum's is a strange one.

Prior to every Red Devils game, the nation's No. 4 Class of 2016 recruit and his grandmother exchange ear tugs, according to USA TODAY prep basketball guru Jason Jordan.

"Before every game I look up into the stands and I find my grandma," Tatum told Jordan. "We know to look for each other before the game. When we make eye contact, I tug on my ear and she'll do the same. It's basically something to let each other know it's time to go out there and give it my all."

The protege of former Chaminade star and current Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, Tatum averaged 25.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.3 steals this past season, leading the Red Devils (24-3) to the Class 5 district finals. He split two games this season against crosstown rival Christian Brothers College High, where his father Justin -- a former St. Louis University standout -- is the head coach.

But it's the 6-foot-6, 180-pound forward's grandmother that holds his attention prior to each game.

"I've done it ever since middle school with my grandma and it's something that's carried over to now," he told the paper. "It just wouldn't feel right if I didn't do it. That's just my thing. I feel like I have to do it."

Seems to be working well so far. Tatum's list of scholarship offers already includes Kansas and Kentucky.

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