On September 16th, Minnesota Timberwolves’ rookie point-guard Tyus Jones made a special guest appearance at a Harbor tour stop in Apple Valley, MN. Tyus, MVP of the 2015 NCAA basketball tournament, is a graduate of Apple Valley High School. He returned to his high school to share his perspectives and insights with students representing eight schools from Minnesota and Iowa. Below are some of the thoughts that Tyus shared with the student leaders.

On the importance of climate and culture of his high school:

It had a big impact on who I am today, starting with Principal Degenaar, all the way to all the teachers that I had, and even to the students that I went to school with. It was just a family atmosphere. Everyone was treated equal, including myself. That really helps because the environment that you’re raised in can affect you. If you are worried about how people can judge you or look at you or if they like you or not, that has an effect on your day to day life. The culture of this school definitely helped make the person I am today.

On being a role-model:

It’s an amazing feeling to know you can be someone’s inspiration or someone’s role model. You might not always know it, but there are always eyes watching you no matter what you are doing or where you are at. For me, I take that as a compliment. I want to try to help out as many kids as I can . . . and try to be as positive and as influential as I can.

On dealing with pressure:

I’ve never done anything alone. You have to allow other people in your life to help you. I always lean on other people. My family is a big part of my life and are very much responsible for who I am today. You need confidence. How I gained confidence throughout the year was from my teammates and from my coaches. It’s wasn’t just me, me, me, me me. It was because of them that I was able to do what I did. It’s never about yourself. You have to be willing to open up to people and let people in your life that are going to help you and want the best for you.

On achieving dreams:

Don’t ever limit your goals and dreams. You can dream as big as you want to. I was sitting in your seats going to the same classes you’re going to just a few years ago. I never gave up on the dream (of playing the NBA) and worked, worked, worked, until that dream came true. Never dream little, always dream big because no one can tell you what you can and can’t accomplish. Never be satisfied. If you do reach your dream, set a new goal and keep working towards it.

The Harbor Back to School tour is a 44 city, 12,000 mile tour across North America. At each stop, Mike Smith, youth speaker and host of The Harbor by Jostens, challenges students to leave behind a positive legacy. With a message of “we all matter”, students learn leadership skills and are inspired to change the culture of their school. Check out The Harbor page for more information on the Harbor Tour and video series.

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