Scheyer named to succeed Krzyzewski as head men's basketball coach at Duke
On Friday, June 4, in Durham, North Carolina, two days after it was initially announced, Northbrook native and Glenbrook North graduate Jon Scheyer was introduced as the 20th head coach in the history of the Duke University men's basketball program, effective starting with the 2022-23 season.
Currently Duke's associate head coach, Scheyer will succeed the legendary Mike Krzyzewski, who in 46 years at Army and Duke has amassed an NCAA-record 1,170 victories. In 41 seasons at Duke, Krzyzewski led the Blue Devils to five NCAA championships and 12 Final Fours. He will coach one final season, 2021-22.
A Chicago native, Krzyzewski attended Weber High School, which closed after the 1999 school year.
Scheyer was a four-year letterman at Duke under Krzyzewski from 2007-10. A two-time co-captain, as a senior Scheyer was a consensus Second-Team All-American and helped Duke win the 2010 NCAA title. He ended his career as the only Blue Devil to record more than 2,000 points, 500 rebounds, 400 assists, 250 three-point field goals and 200 steals.
After graduation Scheyer played professionally in the NBA D League and overseas.
Joining Krzyzewski's coaching staff as a special assistant for the 2013-14 season, he was promoted to assistant coach the next season, and to associate head coach in 2018. In 2015 Scheyer helped coach the Blue Demons to their most recent NCAA title.
A Glenbrook North graduate, Class of 2006, Scheyer was a two-time Gatorade Illinois player of the year who led the Spartans to the 2005 Illinois High School Association Class AA title. A Parade and McDonald's All-American as a senior, he graduated as the state's career scoring leader and was the only player listed in the top 10 in career points, assists and steals.
In 2006 he was included in the IHSA's list of "100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament."
Scheyer, 33, is married to the former Marcelle Provencial and has two children, Noa and Jett.
Calling from Durham, Scheyer on Friday conducted a phone interview with the Daily Herald. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
Daily Herald: The obvious question is, how does it feel to be named head coach of arguably the nation's top men's college basketball program?
Jon Scheyer: It's surreal. I can't even explain the last 48 hours, the excitement for my family and I. Just looking forward to this year and cannot wait for the future.
DH: How were you informed that you'd be Coach Krzyzewski's successor?
JS: I got a call from our soon-to-be athletic director, Nina King, and the (university) president (Vincent Price) called me as well. I told them today that they were the two best phone calls I've ever received.
She told me and I was speechless; I honestly didn't know what to say. And I was so fired up I actually FaceTimed my family, and my entire family proceeded to cry with tears of emotion and just happiness.
DH: Did the phone proverbially blow up from your friends?
JS: Yeah, it absolutely blew up. I'm still in the process of trying to get back to a lot of people.
The amount of former players, friends, family, teammates that have reached out has been incredible. It's been overwhelming, just seeing how many people care about our program at such a high level, and also the amount of people that have supported and helped me along the way to get to where I am. I'm incredibly thankful.
DH: Coaches such as Mike Krzyzewski cannot be truly replaced. I'd assume you've got to be your own man. What do you bring to the head coaching position?
JS: Well, I think I bring a lot of things, and one is a great understanding for what this program has done but also where it's going. I start there.
If I try to be "Coach K" I'm not going to be successful in this. I know I have to follow my instincts fully. It's worked out for me in a big way up until this point. I'm confident in who I am as a head coach.
I think people will see in time what I'm about -- I'm about relationships. I believe in having great communication with our players, with our recruits. And I always think it's a two-way conversation where it's not just me talking with them, but the age that I'm at and the timing of everything, where they feel comfortable talking with me.
I cannot wait to get started. I think time will tell but it's a unique situation where my job this year is to be the best assistant coach that I can. So, I'm going to do that.
DH: What are your expectations of this year of transition.
JS: Well, look, we have to hit the ground running with recruiting. And as far as the expectation beside that is to be the best coach and develop our players and have great relationships and communication with them.
And then, of course, you get a chance to evaluate the future of our program. Decisions need to be made as far as scheduling and construction of our staff, and roles and responsibilities. Look, the staff we have is incredible and I can't wait to work with each and every one of them. But we need to figure out what the best plan is going forward. I want to understand how they see things, so I want to have lots of conversations and by the time April rolls around you already have a great feel and understanding for what needs to be done.
DH: Is the rest of the staff remaining intact?
JS: Chris (Carrawell) and Nolan (Smith) as coaches, I'm lucky to have those two guys with me. As far as other openings should go in terms of the third assistant role and we have other slots to fill, we're going to take our time and not make any rushed decisions on that.
DH: Did Coach Krzyzewski give you any advice or a message?
JS: His advice the whole time has been, follow your instincts. That's what he's told me, that's what I'm gonna do. He doesn't want me to feel in any way that I have pressure or an expectation for me to do what he would do. I appreciate him saying that, and I plan on following my instincts fully.
DH: How has the support been in Durham?
JS: The support has been incredible. I've been blown away by the response, by the reaction from really everyone. It's an honor. I mean, it's an incredible responsibility to lead this program into the next phase, and there won't be a day where I take it for granted.
DH: Last season was the rare mediocre one for Duke. What does the future hold?
JS: We're going to continue to adapt and evolve to be the pinnacle place for men's basketball. I don't know what the blueprint's gonna be. If Coach told you three years ago what the blueprint would be for this year, there's no way.
Going to continue to be flexible, going to follow my instincts and I'm going to lean on the people that I have around me to figure out how we can do this together.
DH: Becoming a head coach at your alma mater, at a program where you won national championships as a player and assistant coach, succeeding your former coach -- how satisfying is that?
JS: I don't think I can put it into words yet because it's a lot to take in. I do realize that this is such an incredible opportunity.
I wouldn't say it's satisfying, because now that I have this role I feel an incredible responsibility and hunger to prove myself. So I'm going to work every day, tirelessly, to do that.
DH: A lot of people in Northbrook and Illinois will remember you scoring 21 points in 75 seconds in a game for Glenbrook North. What are your memories of that?
JS: I remember losing, unfortunately (85-79 to Proviso West). I'll never forget, we're down by 13 with what, (1:24) to go, and we cut it to 2 two or three times (actually four, according to former Proviso West Holiday Tournament director Joe Spagnolo), we just couldn't quite ever get over the hurdle. I'll never forget, after the game there were so many people lined up to talk with me and get autographs and interviews. I just was so disappointed and crushed that we lost I didn't talk to anybody. I found out later that Jabari Parker was one of them, so Jabari still gives me a hard time about it now.
DH: Being still a young man, do you see that as a plus in relating to athletes?
JS: I think it's a great time to be a coach and be a coach my age.
It's a sweet spot, right, where you're far enough removed from being a player but you're still young enough to understand what they've gone through and what they're going to go through. I feel incredibly fortunate, like I've said. If nothing else the connection and bond that I have with my players is the most important thing.