Two years ago, after Pittsburgh beat Duke on a last-second 3-pointer in Madison Square Garden, The Big Lead got on his soapbox and singled out Jon Scheyer, calling him “unquestionably, an awful college basketball player…. Offensively, after last night’s dreadful 1-for-10 shooting performance, one cannot begin to imagine the thought process that Scheyer uses when he is in possession of the basketball.” A patently absurd statement in 2007, it rings even flatter almost exactly two years later, when the New York City media left the Garden singing Scheyer’s praises in their stories about Duke’s throttling of Gonzaga.
Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn focused his attention on Scheyer — who scored 20 points and dished out eight assists to just two turnovers — calling the guard not just an All-American candidate, but the new frontrunner for the ACC Player of the Year.
Sounds crazy, at first. Jon Scheyer, ACC Player of the Year? Well, Scheyer is third in the league in scoring, buoyed by a 36-point outburst against Gardner-Webb Tuesday. Plus, there is no dominant player as in years past, and if Duke does enough to win the conference, it seems likely that Scheyer, Kyle Singler or Nolan Smith would nab the honors. Take it away, Mr. Winn:
It feels strange saying those things about the Duke senior who had, up until recently, always been thought of as a complementary player. I imagine a large number of non-Duke fans will begin drafting angry e-mails immediately after seeing “Scheyer” and “ACC Player of the Year” in the same sentence, and not even read the rest of this article. But in this case the numbers back up the argument.
Scheyer played his standard, tidy game against the Zags, scoring 20 points while dishing out eight assists against just two turnovers — and his season assist-to-turnover ratio actually went down. He entered the game with a 6.4-to-1 ratio, third-best in the nation (according to statsheet.com) and best amongst ACC players. His season splits are now 59 assists against 10 turnovers, decent numbers for someone who also leads the Blue Devils in scoring at 18.2 points per game, didn’t start playing point guard until the latter half of his junior season, and still isn’t called a point guard by his coach. “Jon’s just a really smart, good player,” said Mike Krzyzewski. “He doesn’t have a position.”