ESPN’s Myron Medical has a pretty good piece up on Jon Scheyer’s move to the head job at Duke and how tough it could be - and also how people around Duke and the program think he can handle it.
Transitions from legends at UCLA, Kentucky and UNC proved challenging but it’s worth mentioning that though Kentucky and UNC had dips, they ultimately remained relevant.
UCLA had a much more difficult time. Wooden was followed by Gene Bartow (52-9) Gary Cunningham (50-8) and Larry Brown (42-17), all of whom were successful by any standard short of Wooden’s, then Larry Farmer, who was less so at 61-23, then Walt Hazzard, who was 77-47. Jim Harrick followed and won a national title and finished 192-62 for his career and was forced out for falsifying expense reports involving a recruit.
Steve Lavin was a flake and highly erratic. Ben Howland made three straight Final Fours but was chased away for a boring style and some questionable things in his program.
Steve Alford never really caught fire at UCLA and was disliked by the fans.
So far, Mick Cronin is doing well, getting to the Final Four with an overachieving team in his second year and he seems to be well-liked.
So Scheyer is going to have a major challenge. However, there are some differences.
First, we’re sure Mike Krzyzewski has thought about this a lot and will make it as easy as possible for his young protege. Second, everyone understands Scheyer is whip-smart. and third, Duke is not UCLA, Kentucky or UNC. We’d like to think we’re a little different.
Where that matters is how we, the fans, support Coach Scheyer. If we stick with him during any tough times, we can help him get through. UNC wasn't quite like that, Kentucky has never been like that and UCLA fans just wandered off to watch the Lakers or go to the beach.
As fans, we can have a major impact on Scheyer’s success. We hope everyone remembers that.