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Jon Scheyer Talks About Taking The Reins And What He Sees Ahead

Lots of optimism in Durham

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Practice Day
Apr 1, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; Duke Blue Devils associate head coach Jon Scheyer watches the team during a practice session before the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament Final Four semifinals at Caesars Superdome.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Scheyer had his first major presser as Duke’s head coach and had some interesting comments. Here are a couple that caught our attention:

“My goal from the beginning was to think about October of 2022, to feel like we’re in a position to pursue a national championship. I think we’re on our way there. We’ve still got some work to do, but I think first and foremost, the thing that I love about the position we’re in is our roster. Getting a guy like Jeremy Roach back is really important. He’s going to be a leader for us [with] what he did in the NCAA Tournament. Joey Baker, Jaylen Blakes – I think the experience of those guys just from this past year will be really important for us.”

First, we love that he feels Duke is in a position to pursue a national championship, and he’s probably right.

Second, in the current environment, transfers are just so common and we thought there was a chance that Blakes might portal his way somewhere else. The portal has closed though, if we’re not mistaken, and Scheyer is clearly planning on having him. So that’s great.

He also said this: “It’s the best coaching staff you can have in college basketball. The different perspective that Mike [Schrage] and Jai [Lucas] bring along with Amile [Jefferson] and Chris [Carrawell], with the chemistry and cohesiveness that we’ve developed over this past year, and even more than that, is terrific. I’m really proud of the staff we have.”

We’ve mentioned this before: the pictures of Scheyer, C-Well, Jefferson and the recently departed Nolan Smith on a recruiting trip reminded us in a way of the Beatles. They were clearly enjoying being out on their own, being young and ready to take on the world. It’s one of our favorite things about the new staff.

He also said it was “silly” to think he would make major changes right away, and that he would be patient and see what needed to be done. That’s a smart answer.

He also said that he was very excited about adding Jai Lucas to the staff, that he had known him for a long time and added him partly for a different perspective. Which is also a smart answer.

Update - here are some comments from Jai Lucas and Chris Carrawell that are revealing.

Lucas: “It’s already been built on a great foundation by Coach K and he’s trying to find a way to make it his own and take it to the next step. I think that just goes to show how serious he is about the job and how committed he is to the University and to the program. When he was willing to do that, it made even more sense because he’s thinking the right way and he’s not afraid of rocking the boat a little bit to go with his vision and what he sees.”

Carrawell: “This coaching isn’t just about X’s and O’s. You can have the best plays, but you have to get guys to buy in. One thing he’s going to have is guys buying in. This dude is a competitive man. He’s competitive as hell. Don’t be fooled. He wants to win more than anybody on our staff...Don’t let the baby face fool you. He can be mean. He has that competitive fire that you have to have as a head coach. So besides the X’s and O’s, he wants to win. I can get down with a guy that wants to win.”