Duke in the top 10? Scheyer says to count on it by March Madness
Jon Scheyer says he expects Duke to be a top-10 team by season's end
This season he will be sharing point guard duties with Nolan Smith
A strong believer in pregame rituals, he's a big fan of Luther Vandross
The latest subject of our Hoops Q&A series is Duke guard Jon Scheyer, who averaged 14.9 points and 2.8 assists last season as a junior. The Northbrook, Ill., native -- and former Illinois Mr. Basketball -- helped lead the Blue Devils to an ACC tournament title and trip to the Sweet 16 in 2008-09. The following is an edited transcript of our discussion this week.
Luke Winn: We had our first meeting for SI's preview issue last week, and there was no real consensus on where to rank Duke. Give us some advice.
Jon Scheyer: Well, this is the most excited and confident I've felt coming into a season. I don't know where you guys will rank us, or where other people will rank us, but I have a great feeling that at the end of the year we'll be high up there. I think we're really going to have a great team -- the best team I've played on at Duke so far.
LW: So you expect top-10 by the end of the season?
JS: Oh, without a doubt. I think the reason people don't know where to rank us is, they know the people we lost, but if they could see our pickup games this summer, they'd have us as high up as anybody. A lot of guys have really developed -- Miles Plumlee, for one, has been a monster this summer. And we're probably going to be bigger than any team we'll play the whole year.
LW: Anyone else make an impression in those pickup games?
JS: Kyle [Singler] has been a great player for a few years, but him moving to the wing this year, I think, will make him a nominee for ACC Player of the Year. Playing on the wing will show how good he really is, because he and I will push each other to be better. Nolan [Smith] has also made a big jump; he had been held back by some injuries last season.
LW: You moved over to point guard [from shooting guard] in February, with some success. How are the point-guard duties going to be doled out between you and Nolan this season?
JS: I'll be at the point -- and Nolan will too, because both of us can handle it. If a team tries to pressure one of us hard, it's nice to have the flexibility where another guy can bring it up. And Nolan and I have talked about this already. It's something we're really excited about; it's not like one of us needs to have the title of point guard or not. Obviously, if I'm playing point guard I'm not going to be doing it for 40 minutes.
LW: There was a chance [after Elliot Williams' transfer to Memphis, and before the announcement that recruit Andre Dawkins was planning on skipping his senior year of high school to join the Blue Devils early] that you were going to have just two scholarship guards on your roster. Is there any way that could have worked?
JS: For me, this is my last year, and I'm going to do anything I can to win a national championship, and to win every game. Whether it would have been two guards or just one guard, I would have done anything to make it work. Regardless of the situation with Andre, I'm going to need to be really strong, and in shape to potentially play 40 minutes, because teams are going to think they can wear us down, maybe by picking us up full-court. But one thing about Duke is, we're always in the best condition.
LW: What's the latest with Andre [Dawkins]? I know his arrival isn't official yet, but what have you heard, and what's he capable of doing as a freshman?
JS: To be honest, I can't really say anything about Andre, because I don't know the details of situation. Obviously I hope he comes, but I don't know for sure if he is. I played with him one time, and he's a great player. If he comes he would help us tremendously, because he an shoot and he can finish. He's a really good athlete. And that's just from me seeing him one time. So I hope everything works out.
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