Most of us who watched the Duke-Kentucky game back in 1992 saw it as
something to treasure. As we have learned, though, a number of kids saw
the game and saw it as something more, something to emulate. Among
their number is Jon Scheyer, who says he was five years old when he saw it
and immediately drafted his parents to recreate the play. His dad played
Grant Hill, and his mom was Kentucky. Unfortunately for Bruce Weber,
Illinois lost this one over a decade ago.
Assuming Duke retains the players they've currently recruited, when Scheyer
gets to campus, he'll be playing with Josh McRoberts, Jamal Boykin, Eric Boateng,
Martynas Pocius, and Greg Paulus, Dave McClure, and DeMarcus Nelson.
If Gerald Henderson commits to Duke today, as reports are suggesting, that's
a very solid group of players. And if Duke gets Brian Zoubek, that gives
them another solid big man inside.
For Scheyer, putting aside the romance of what he experienced in 1992, he's
in a great situation, as, indeed, everyone on Duke's team will. He'll be
playing with a gifted point guard in Greg Paulus, who has the capacity to
control the game, and who has been compared to Bob Cousy. To many, it's an
obscure comparison, and while we never saw him play, we know he was famous for
playing with a flair, for being a great ballhandler and passer, and for
winning. Being compared to Cousy is a tremendous compliment.
This is shaping up as a group which has the potential to be a tremendous
passing team. Let's just get the comparisons out of the way and dismiss
them, with a caveat to follow: Paulus has been compared to Cousy,
McRoberts to Larry Bird, and Pocius to Pete Maravich.
Okay, now, let's put it in perspective. Those three players were
not just three of the all-time greats, they were three of the most skilled
players ever. Bird is recent enough to retain a legend among younger
fans. Cousy is ancient history for most fans now. And while the term
"Pistol Pete" still resonates, only fans above a certain age remember
him in his prime.
The comparisons are not at all fair to young players, but foremost among
their many great skills was passing. Cousy revolutionized the point guard
position, Maravich could execute an 80 foot behind the back pass, and Bird could
make passes that no one else in the gym could imagine.
We don't know how good a passer Scheyer is, but he is a tremendous shooter,
and being around gifted passers will be a major boon for him.
Just by the by, another guy who should benefit tremendously from that sort of
passing is DeMarcus Nelson, who will find himself getting a lot of uncontested
Anyway, we're really happy that Scheyer is in the big blue truck, and we hope
that Duke turns out to be everything he ever imagined. Perhaps he can at
some point in his career hit a shot like Laettner's, and send another kid,
somewhere, scrambling to replicate it.
More good news: he
absolutely sees himself as a four-year player.