Posts Tagged ‘hated duke players’

An Ode to Jon Scheyer

Saturday’s Duke-UNC game was the best Senior Night Cameron Indoor Stadium has seen in at least five years. And not just because the Blue Devils got their first home win against the Tar Heels since Tyler Hansbrough entered UNC, and not just because Duke got its most lopsided win in the last 45 years of the rivalry. Those were important, of course, but not as important as the last game in Cameron for Jon Scheyer, the best player to graduate Duke since J.J. Redick.

Scheyer’s career as a Dukie has been a turbulent one. His freshman year saw the embarrassing first-round loss to VCU, and his second year saw him lose his spot in the starting lineup. Midway through his junior year, he was asked to move to point guard, a position—as we were constantly reminded on every broadcast—that was not natural for him.

Most of all, though, Scheyer’s time at Duke, at this point, has become—fairly or not—recognized as Duke’s fall from the national stage. Scheyer saw the VCU loss, the near-upset to Belmont, the embarrassment to West Virginia, the blowout against Villanova, not to mention last year’s route at the hands of Clemson. And unlike Greg Paulus, a player also associated with (and probably more representative of) Duke’s “fall”, Scheyer was never part of a dominant Duke regular season team. In Scheyer’s four years, Duke has had the #1 ranking for a total of one week (and a winless one at that)—fewer than any four year player at Duke since before the days of Christian Laettner.

In many ways, Scheyer has become representative of Duke’s new perception: Unintimidating, but effective. Scheyer doesn’t wow fans with any one skill: He’s not the sharpshooter that Redick was; he doesn’t dunk like Gerald Henderson did; he doesn’t handle the ball as well as a lot of point guards, or blow by defenders off the dribble. But Scheyer has handled his role—whether it be shooting guard, sixth man, or starting point guard—with surprising aplomb. Continue reading

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The Double Bonus: It’s a Wall World After All

We’re still playing around with the format a little and how to best differentiate what John S says from what Tim says (besides a close, personal knowledge of their writing styles, natch). In this issue of The Double Bonus, John S’s insights are in sans-serif Verdana font while Tim’s are in smaller serifed Times New Roman. Everybody on board? Good.

It’s clear at this point in the season that John Wall is the biggest the story in college basketball. The Kentucky freshman, already the frontrunner to win Player of the Year, is the latest in a line of freshman stars to thrive in the NCAA since the NBA instituted its infamous “one-and-done” rule in 2006. But unlike Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, and Michael Beasley, Wall’s presence is being felt at the point, where he has been running the entire Wildcat offense since the season began. The immediacy of his impact and the sheer impressiveness of his athleticism put him ahead of where Tyreke Evans and even Derrick Rose were at this point in their freshman seasons.

The most surprising thing about Wall’s rookie season, though,* is how quickly he was anointed by fans and the press. Highly touted freshman usually face a fair amount of scrutiny and, as a result, criticism. Oden, for example, was hampered by injuries early in 2006-07 and was facing questions about when he would “cut loose” all season long. Guys like Beasley, Rose, and O.J. Mayo had to face questions about their character and maturity throughout the season (and there is evidence against Wall in this area). Even the beloved Durant’s breakout performance (on a national stage, at least) didn’t come until January, against Oklahoma State. But Wall seems to have been beloved since his debut (although hitting a game-winner at the buzzer in your first game IS a pretty good debut). Continue reading