Tag Archives: Jon Scheyer

Duke’s special senior class leaves lasting memories for the Blue Devil Nation

Duke Senior Jon Scheyer scored 2077 points in his Duke career faling one basket shy of Gene Bnks who stands at 8th place on the Duke All Time Scoring list. Scheyer hit one or more three point field goals in his last 33 games. His total of 144 games played ties Chris Duhon for 4th in history.

DURHAM – It’s almost as if the 2010 Duke senior class bloomed right along with spring.   As Duke celebrated their fourth national title this past Monday, three Duke seniors – Jon Scheyer, Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek – blossomed in full glory.

Each senior basked in the lighted stage of victory, all of them smiling, all of them relieved and all of them standing in the end as national champions.  In fact, they were the only ones standing when past seasons brought about disappointing ends.

If you follow the Duke program closely you know that this core of seniors had nobody look up to in their freshman campaign.  Despite that, the group was seasoned in the Duke system and in their senior year they formed a special bond which led to some amazing team chemistry.

In short, this senior class is special in many ways and it is one that will always be cherished in that they made all proud to say “We are Duke!”  Not that many fans were not content, but that the taste of another title on an exhilarating tournament run was that little something which brings about fan base bliss.

When Jon Scheyer was asked to run the point this season there were many who doubted that he could get the job done, but it didn’t take long for them to realize he could.   That’s how talented Jon Scheyer is. He became the primary ball handler and survived the pressure of the one position that controls the game all season long.

That season ended, of course, in a national championship and his ability to switch from the off guard spot is one of the main reasons that Duke cut down the nets in Lucas Oil Stadium.  There is no doubt that the signs which  read, “Scheyer was on fire” in his senior season were spot on in so many ways.

The amazing thing about Scheyer was his selflessness.  At no time this season did he worry about individual records.  He fell just short of JJ Redick’s all time free throw percentage mark, inches from Wojo’s assist to turnover ratio mark, and a three pointer away from passing Gene Banks on the Duke all time lists.

With a ‘team first’ mentality, Scheyer sacrificed personal accolades for the big prize.  What Scheyer does is put his team first and he left fans with what they most covet that being a national championship and he himself now has a ring.  Despite the aforementioned three alums records, each of them would trade places with number 30.  With Duke’s stringent standards on raising numbers to the rafters, Scheyer’s will not appear there.  But if he were playing for the neighbor a few miles down the road, he would probably get four banners for his play.

Regardless of the fact that his name will not hang atop Cameron Indoor Stadium, Scheyer has embedded himself as one of the most popular players in Duke basketball history.  The Illinois native represented Duke in a class way while in Durham and there is a tremendous sadness when one realizes they’ll never see this kid in the royal blue again.

Here was a player who proved himself to be one of the best and, in the end, King of the Hill.  While he fell a few votes shy of ACC Player of the Year and came painfully close to first team All American, Jon did what it took for Duke to take home the big enchilada.

Make no mistake in that the Blue Devil Nation sheds a tear when they think of the exploits of Jon Scheyer.

Brian Zoubek Duke
This picture is kind of special to me in that getting to know Brian Zoubek this season enabled me to read his eyes. Brian Zoubek came up big for Duke down the stretch and his size and agressiveness helped Duke win a thriller over Bayler. What do his eyes tell me? That he came full circle through adversity and earned respect with his determined and aggresive play and that look at me now world, I'm a national champion and I was viatl to my teams success. ZOubek enjoyed the late season attention and he was the best interview down the stretch run. Zoubs you are and will be the man.

There was a time when one would have thought Brian Zoubek would come and go from Duke with little fanfare when the buzzer sounded for his last game.  Zoubek went through a litany of problems while at Duke, most of which are documented enough that there is no need of mention.

One doesn’t have to know Zoubek’s struggles to appreciate what will be remembered for a long time to come.  The nation was still sleeping when Zoubek started to don a beard and in the process his play took on a Sampson-like quality.

Here we are at the national championship game and a deep cheer “Zoubs,” rolls through Lucas Oil Stadium as the senior rips down his tenth rebound of the game.   And what a critical rebound it was, with seven seconds left on the clock and Duke clinging to a 60-59 lead.

Zoubek was fouled on the play and hit the first of two shots, the second bounding off the rim per instructions from the bench.  That miss was rebounded by Butler’s star player Gordon Hayward who slashed to mid court as a vicious pick was set on Kyle Singler allowing him to get an open look.

While the ball just barely bounced off the backboard and rim, Zoubek had run back towards the basket after raising a long arm in Haywards face.  Who is to know if that didn’t just alter Hayward’s shot enough to barely miss?

Either way, Zoubek came up big in the last minutes of this game and his play down the season stretch helped will the Blue Devils to a red hot 18-1 mark, finishing off a year to remember.  Zoubek came full circle after a career with ups and downs and he did that at just the right time for without his play the Blue Devils would not have been the last team standing.

Zoubek was quite simply a beast of a presence and watching his confidence grow and to have gotten to know him during this amazing stretch run is something that made a lifelong impression on  me.  Brian leaves Duke as one beloved Blue Devil and I think I speak for the entire Blue Devil Nation in saying, “thank you so much for the memories, Zoubs.”

There were a lot of good players in the NCAA Tournament but Duke's Lance Thomas was one aof a few last men standing. When the dust cleared Thomas had becoem part of a three man senior class that will long be remembered in the anals of Duke lors. The har working Jersey born bread and proud Thomas was a workhorse that did whatever was askled of him with full throttle energy and desire. LT is and will always be in the house.

Much like Zoubek, Lance Thomas would often be taken to task on message boards by armchair coaches over his career.  What they now recognize is that Thomas was the workhorse for this season’s Blue Devils team and he did not only what was asked of him, but more.

Some might still need to be told that Thomas really did the dirty work his whole career and that the fact he was starting for many years meant there were never better options.  Some things just don’t show up in the stat sheets.  You can’t measure hustle, nor is there a stat for the willingness to guard the other team’s best player, be it a guard or a power forward.

Thomas was Duke’s ‘Energizer Bunny’ and his chemistry with Zoubek allowed Krzyzewski to form a two and two rotation with the brothers Plumlee, providing Duke with front court depth unlike any season in their history.

Thomas got his hand in the face of many shooters in the Butler game and by hitting three of five shots in the game, he forced the Bulldogs to come out to guard him on the perimeter.  Thomas was invaluable to Duke this season after losing Gerald Henderson to the NBA and Elliot Williams to Memphis.  Thomas rose to the occasion and played his role to perfection to fill the gaps and, as a result, he has some new bling on his finger to show off to his beloved New Jersey homies.

Having followed Thomas and the Duke beat all season long, I can tell you firsthand that Thomas was one of the most focused and hardest working young men I’ve been around.  Here is a youngster who would never say quit, one who would get knocked down and get back up before he even hit the floor.

Thomas, like the other Blue Devil seniors, fought off some tears when answering questions for the media.  It was Thomas who told me during the off day in a sincere eye to eye manner, “We’ve got one more game.  We’ve got one more game to take care and then I can smile.”

Well, Thomas was all smiles in the Duke locker room after his mission and that of his fellow seniors was complete.  There in the background was the national championship trophy sitting on a trainer’s table and a piece of net hanging from each of the seniors’ newly minted champion hats.

There was a special glow surrounding the kids who would wear their Duke uniform for the last time, and there was a sense around the whole Duke family that nobody want this magical journey to end.

“I’m at a loss for words,” said Thomas in his now well realized passionate manner as I questioned him perhaps for the last time.  And I can tell you, Lance, with mirrored passionate honestym that the Blue Devil Nation is at a loss for words too and we thank you with all our collective hearts for leaving us with a gift that will keep giving as time passes on.

In case you missed it – The Duke post game press conference

Duke 2010 National Champions
The Duke staff was all hugs for good reason in that their hard work gained a national championship. What a special group of Duke Blue Devils! What a season! What a joy is is for Duke fans! How cool is it to be on top of the world? BDN Photo

INDIANAPOLIS – If you missed the post game press conference, here it is for you.  Coach K, Jon Scheyer, Brian Zoubek, Lance Thomas and most outstanding player Kyle Singler address the media after they won the national championship with a thrilling win over Butler.

Just press play -

Duke nips Butler 61-59 and are crowned National Champions

INDIANAPOLIS – The Duke Blue Devils defeated the Butler Bulldogs to claim the schools and Mike Krzyzewski’s fourth national championship on Monday evening in Indianapolis.

The game went down to the wire as Gordon Hayward’s sixty foot shot bounded off the glass and Duke held on for life for a classic national final win.  The Blue Devils immediately took to mid court, hugs everywhere before the Blue Devils watched CBS’s “One shining moment.”

There was no reason for the hometown favorite Butler Bulldogs to hold their heads down, for they played good enough to win but fell just short.  The Bulldogs had a fabulous season, one they’ll remember for years to come and they fought the tradition-laden Blue Devils tooth and nail until the buzzer sounded.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be in eight national championship games and this was a classic.  This was the toughest and best one,” said Krzyzewski who tied Adolph Rupp with four national titles.

He remains first in NCAA tournament wins with 77 and has twelve Final Four wins, second only to John Wooden of UCLA.  Krzyzewski is now 4-4 in national championship games.

Kyle Singler led the way for Duke with 19 points and 9 rebounds and his defense helped hold Butler star Gordon Hayward to 2 of 11 shooting from the field.  Hayward ended the game with 12 points as did Shelvin Mack.

“When I saw Hayward’s shot  bounce off the rim, the team came together in a special moment,” said Singler.

Jon Scheyer finished his Duke career with a 15 point effort  to go with a team high 5 assists.  “They were tough and I can only imagine how they feel especially with an end like that.

For Scheyer, the end means a national championship just as it does for fellow seniors, Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas.

Once again, Zoubek led the team in rebounding with ten and that earned him the praise of Krzyewski.  “I thought Zoubs on his out of bounds defense was great and then he adjusts and alters the shot, getting the rebound was so fitting for Zoubek.  Brian elevated out team over these last seven weeks to where we have a chance to play and win a national championship.”

Krzyzewski also defended Brian when a media member asked him about his up and down career.  That’s just Krzyzewski protecting his players and wanting Brian to be questioned about his play this season and not the past.

Thomas added six points and he finally cracked a smile at game’s end.  Thomas has been intense throughout the tournaments and he now has the coveted national championship ring.

The Blue Devils bench did not score but they provided breaks for the starters.  If you were told the bench would not score, you would have likely thought Duke lost, but that is a testament to the veteran leadership.

After being out rebounded in the first half, Duke hit the glass better in the second half and that was a huge key in a tight game.  The final margin was 37 to 35 in the Blue Devils favor.

Duke finishes a special season with a 35-5 record and the team will now return to Durham for a raucous celebration.

BDN has been on the Duke beat all season long and we’ll have more to come on the Blue Devils’ fabulous March.  After all, the road ends in Indianapolis and Duke was the last team standing.

BDN Previews the National Championship – Duke [34-5] vs Butler [33-4]

Singler leads Duke versus Butler
Hometown heroes, the Butler Bulldogs, stand in the way of the Duke Blue Devils winning their 4th National Championship under Mike Krzyzewski. - Lance King

INDIANAPOLIS – The Duke Blue Devils will take on the Butler Bulldogs in a game that tips at 9:21 eastern and the winner will be the 2010 National Champion.

Butler was ranked 11th in the pre season and they are  riding a 25 game winning streak.   They have not only defeated three top ten teams in  Syracuse, Kansas State and Michigan State, but they held them all to less than 60 points.  In short, these Bull Dogs live up to their name for they are one tough bunch of kids.

Both Duke and Butler covet defense and that alone should make for a grinding game while they feel each other out.  Butler has held 12 of their last 13 opponents under 60, while Duke is allowing just 61 points per game.

Butler had 12 steals vs Michigan State and while they do not play the passing lanes as you might think, they make it difficult when the ball goes in the baseline with hands reaching.  Butler has 118 wins in four seasons 33-4 and their head coach Brad Stevens is a hot commodity.

Butler prefers to keep a game in the sixties and that strategy has been effective for them.  They are not particularly tall inside, so look for Duke to try to work it inside – out to create shots.

The Bulldogs best player is Gordon Hayward [6-9 soph, 15.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg]  who has led his team in scoring 17 times this season17 times this season.  He is a versatile player cut out in the mold of inside-out Duke players past.

Matt Howard [6-8 soph, 11.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg]  has scored in double figure 47 times in his career and he anchors the front court.  Howard butted heads late in the Michigan State win but he is expected to go.

Another key player for the Bulldogs is Shelvin Mack [6-3 soph, 14.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg].  Mack is the motor of this team and Duke will need to keep him in their sights all night long.

Ronald Nored [6-0 soph, 6.0 ppg] starts as does Willie Veasley [6-3, senior, 10.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg].  Both of these guys are good team players and both can drop it in if left open.  Veasley is the veteran leader of a young team whose best players are sophomores.

Make no mistake, all of Indianapolis is behind Butler who as you know now is just six miles down the road from Lucas Oil Arena.  Many are making them out to be Cinderella, but their program has been consistent.

As for mutual opponents, Butler lost to Georgetown 72-65 in one of their 4 losses.  The Hoyas handed Duke their second  worst loss of the season in an 89-77 win. Butler lost to Clemson by 1 point in November while Duke holds two double figure wins over the Tigers.

Butler holds wins over Northwestern, UCLA, Xavier, UTEP, Syracuse, Kansas State and Michigan State and that alone should tell you they can indeed keep the title in Indianpolis.

The Blue Devils are led by their big three of Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler.  It will be hard to deny all three of these guys and if all are on their game as was the case in the win over West Virginia they should find victory lane.

But it is Duke’s senior leadership which has been at the core of Duke’s success as well.  The aforementioned Scheyer, hopes to remain hot from the field, while Lance Thomas will do all the dirty work which does not show up in the box score.

The emergence of Brian Zoubek is who many point to as the real reason Duke is in the title game has been a rebounding machine down the stretch and he will cause some match up problems inside for Butler.  If Zoubs controls the glass, Duke will benefit greatly.

It’s only appropriate that these two teams are facing each other for they have earned the right to be here.  And while Brad Stevens coaching job has been fabulous for Butler this season, Coach Mike Krzyzewski, known as Coach K, who in my opinion has had his best season ever at the helm.

Keys to a Duke win 1) Shoot well from the field, 2) Push it inside in an effort to create some foul trouble which will get them to the line, 3) Play within your role – Duke was unselfish and patient on the offensive end against West Virginia and it will be important for this to continue, 4)  Rotate the bigs to keep the pressure on and this should wear Butler down.  Duke has been doing this all season, 5) Run when the opportunity is there.  Quick or easy baskets allows Duke to take Butler out of their comfort zone and if they are forced to play from behind, that works in Duke’s favor.  In short, get out to a good start.

The fact that Duke has been here before should help, but I expect a game Butler team to give Duke all they want.  In the end, I see Duke winning their 4th national title under Krzyzewski. Duke’s core is seniors while Butler’s best players are sophomores and this is what keeps jumping out for me.

The pick here is Duke 74 Butler 61.

April 4th Duke Press Conference from Indianapolis

Duke set to take on Butler
Duke players address the media in Indy BDN Photo

INDIANAPOLIS – The Duke Blue Devils defeated West Virginia just hours ago, but they were once again in Lucas Oil Stadium to address the media early this afternoon.  The following is the national press conference which featured Coach K, Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler, Lance Thomas, Nolan Smith and Brian Zoubek.  Several more interviews to come including one on one chats with selected Blue Devil players and coaches.

April 4th Press Conference -