May 26, 2024

In his second year as head coach, Jon Scheyer willingly embraced the challenges that came with taking over the reins. However, since stepping into the formidable shoes of the legendary five-time Duke basketball national champion, Mike Krzyzewski, the expectations for success have been exceptionally high. The scrutiny and critique directed at Scheyer, whether in the aftermath of losses or, at times, even after victories, have been notably unforgiving.

Considering the circumstances, Scheyer, a former national champion both as a player (2010) and as an assistant coach (2015) under Coach K, has managed to perform admirably. With an overall record of 35-12, he secured an ACC Tournament title in his inaugural year as the team’s leader.

Duke basketball head coach Jon Scheyer and guard Jared McCain

Presently, the 16th-ranked Blue Devils, with a record of 8-3 (0-1 ACC), aim to capitalize on the momentum gained from their recent 78-70 triumph over then-No. 10 Baylor in New York City – a significant victory marking a notable milestone in the Scheyer era.

On Christmas Eve, ESPN college hoops analyst Fran Fraschilla took to social media to commend Scheyer. Responding to a clip of Scheyer’s remarks following the Baylor game, Fraschilla drew parallels between the 36-year-old coach’s career and the early trajectories of three eventual national champion coaches.

“Jon Scheyer will get criticism the way I saw Jay Wright [Villanova], Tom Izzo [Michigan State], & Scott Drew [Baylor] did early in their careers. I saw them all improve dramatically. He’s on the same path to success.”

In line with Scheyer’s perspective, the Blue Devils, featuring promising five-star freshman guards Jared McCain and Caleb Foster in recent starting lineups, are actively cultivating a sense of unity by disregarding negative reactions, including boos, and external expectations.

During the postgame press conference on Wednesday night, Jon Scheyer expressed pride in the team’s mental resilience, highlighting their ability to withstand the pressure that often accompanies wearing the prestigious Duke name. He acknowledged the challenges of facing an audience that may not always be supportive, but he commended the players for choosing to focus on each other, reinforcing their bond, and viewing the recent victory as a significant progression for the team.

Looking ahead, Duke basketball is set to host Queens at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, an event that will be aired on The CW.

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