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Duke Recruiting: With The Addition Of Kon Knueppel, Jon Scheyer’s Master Plan Becomes More Obvious

Scheyer is clearly putting a major emphasis on versatility and good shooting.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Georgia Tech
Jan 28, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Jon Scheyer talks to Duke Blue Devils forward Mark Mitchell (25) in the second half at McCamish Pavilion. 
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

This is kind of unique: Jon Scheyer has coached just one season of basketball but he’s working on his third class of recruits. His body of work on the court isn’t big enough to really know a lot yet but recruiting?

We’ve got a pretty good idea there.

Scheyer’s first class consisted of Dereck Lively, Dariq Whitehead, Kyle Filipowski, Mark Mitchell and Tyrese Proctor, all of whom could end up being first round picks.

His second class features Jared McCain, Caleb Foster, Sean Stewart and TJ Power.

And while his third class is still evolving, so far Scheyer has commitments from Darren Harris, Isaiah Evans and, as of Thursday night, Milwaukee’s best, Kon Knueppel.

Obviously we haven’t seen everyone in a Duke uniform yet, but we can say this with some confidence: like his predecessor Mike Krzyzewski, he puts a big emphasis on versatility and athleticism. Coach K did too, of course; every coach did. But Krzyzewski seemed to prize an attacking mentality where Scheyer may prefer more high-end shooters.

When you look at Scheyer’s early recruits, at this point, only Stewart appears to be primarily an inside player. And even there we could be wrong. A lot of people said that about Lively, but it didn't take long for his three point shooting to open eyes in Dallas. So that could be true about Stewart too. We have no doubt that he’ll be encouraged to be more versatile.

No one else has to be. They’re all pretty well-rounded. All of them can shoot. Filipowski has no trouble driving or with a medium-range game and Scheyer is talking about his talented sophomore bringing the ball up some this year.

Look at Mitchell: he’s versatile on both ends. Offensively, he can take the ball to the basket or shoot a three pointer. Proctor’s offense was not what it should have been last year but he spent some time catching up after getting to Durham late. He’ll be better.

As noted, we’re not sure if Stewart has a three-point game but the others do. McCain and Foster could both play point - or not. Power has a diverse game.

And for the class of ‘24, Harris is an elite shooter - as is is Knueppel.

Kneuppel has emerged late and the guy has a beautiful, soft stroke. The ball just melts into the basket. You can’t really teach that. Either you have it or you don’t and clearly, he has it.

If there is one criticism of him, it might be that he needs to refine his body. But he’s what, 16? That’s not a big deal. He’s barely old enough to shave. He’ll get leaner and stronger as time goes on.

All three of those guys will open the court as wide as the parting of the Red Sea.

The real question now is who will benefit? Duke has more work to do and offers are out to Cooper Flagg, Cameron Boozer and Patrick Ngbonga, among others.

We don’t want to trivialize this or make it sound like bada bing! It’s just easy!

Because it’s not.

Still, having that many good shooters on the court means that you have to defend the three first. And when you do that, whoever is roaming inside is going to get lots and lots of easy opportunities.

As we said, there’s not enough data to know what to expect from Scheyer year-to-year yet. But can you get an idea of where he’d like to take things?

Uh - yeah. And it’s probably going to be a lot of fun, too.