DURHAM, N.C. – Former Duke All-American and 2010 NCAA Champion Jon Scheyer recently signed a two-year contract to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Israeli League.
“I am really excited to take the next step in my basketball career and go play for Maccabi Tel Aviv,” said Scheyer. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to play for a team with such great tradition.”
Scheyer spent last season in the NBA D-League after suffering a signiifcant eye injury during an NBA Summer League game. He helped lead the Rio Grande Vipers to the D-League finals and closed the year averaging 13.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.
Since Scheyer is Jewish, he won’t considered as a foreigner player, but as Israeli which will be a good advantage to Maccabi in the Israeli league.
“I wanted Jon already last season and I’m very happy that we managed to sign him,” said David Blatt, head coach of Maccabi. “Jon is a very talented and smart player, he is a true winner although his young age, not less importantly he is a Jewish who is coming to Israel and I wish he will stay here for many more years.”
Scheyer will join a Maccabi Tel Aviv team that went 26-1 in the Premier League and features Americans Jeremy Pargo (Gonzaga), Richard Hendrix (Alabama), Shawn James (Duquesne) and Derrick Sharp (South Florida).
Maccabi Tel Aviv has the richest tradition of basketball success in Israel With five European championships, 49 Israeli championships, 38 Israeli Cups and two League Cups. It is also the fourth-most successful club in European history, and one of the most successful teams of the past decade in European basketball, having won three titles and reaching the finals five times in that period.
The rise and success of David Blatt’s coaching era in Maccabi Tel Aviv began with its phenomenal American backcourt dual in the likes of Jeremy Pargo and Doron Perkins. The last name mentioned is no longer with the yellow-and-blue due to a heartbreaking knee injury and is being scouted by Spanish club Barcelona, who is keeping a close eye on his progress. However, after securing Pargo for an extra two years in Tel Aviv, Blatt was working on building a new ‘frightening machine’, as he happily announced this morning ‘I’m extremely cheerful about his signing, he is winner at heart and has proved it throughout his career,’ commenting on the signing of the former Blue Devil Jon Scheyer. O and by the way Blatt also kept his red-white-and-blue backcourt identity.
Born in Illinois, like most young Jewish boys, Scheyer was intelligent, talented and extremely competitive. A stand-out through high school whose name was known nationwide from a very young age, Scheyer led the Glenbrook North Spartans to an Illinois High School AA championship. One of his most memorable performances came his senior year, where Jon scored 21 points in the final 75 seconds of a game marked by many as ‘The best high school performances ever,’ giving him the promising nickname, the ‘Jewish Jordan’. In his final high school year, Scheyer averaged 32 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals per game, and the question that was said asked wasn’t if Jon would make it to the NCAA, it was which elite team will him play for?
Graduating from high school with a total of 3,034 points in his career Scheyer was ranked fourth on the all time scoring list in the state of Illinois; earning ESPN’s Illinois First-Team of the decade honorable mention alongside one – Derrick Rose.
A College Successor
Scheyer’s decision as to which college he would attend wasnt that difficult as he paired up with another Illinois native, legendary coach, Mike Krzyzewski, and entering the big shoes left by sharpshooter J.J. Redick, becoming a Blue Devil at Duke University. ‘He’s one of the best player’s I’ve ever coached in my thirty years at Duke, talent wise he has outstanding talent,’ ‘Coach K’ commented in Scheyers’ senior year as a Blue Devil, a year he led his team to the NCAA Championship title over Butler University, scoring 15 points, pulling down 6 rebounds, and dishing out 5 assists. All in all Scheyer posted averages of 18.2 points, 4.9 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game that same year.
Scheyer’s NCAA record holdings include leading the ACC in percentages for free throws (87.8%), three-pointers (2.8 per game) and assist/turnover ratio (3 to 1). Yet, what stands out the most is Jon’s impressive list of records and achievements at the UD. He holds the all-time record for most consecutive games played at Duke (144); hes ranked third in free throw percentages (86.1%), fourth place in number of three-pointers scored (297), and ninth in points (2,077) in Duke History.
An example of Scheyers determination to excel and prove himself worthy of playing at the highest basketball level can be found in one of his practice stories. While still in high school, destined for greatness, he decided not to leave the practice facility until he had made 50 consecutive free throws. After making 49, he missed the final shot. Instead of going home, Scheyer started all over again, and kept shooting until he had made his 50 free throws in a row.
Scheyer, who was not selected in the 2010 NBA draft, played for the Miami Heat during the 2010 Summer League, and scored the game-winning basket in the Heat’s first encounter. He later took an elbow to the eye during his second game and underwent surgery to repair damage to the retina. In September he gave the NBA another shot working out for the Los Angeles Clippers, but his eye was not fully healed and it backfired in him causing him to get waived. Come February he was completely healed and joined the Rio-Grande Valley Vipers, the D-League team of the Houston Rockets, with 16 games left in the season. Scheyer quickly fit himself into the team and led them to the playoff finals finishing the season with averages of 11.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4 assists.
‘Jon is a Jewish man coming to a Jewish country and I hope he stays here for many years to come,’ Scheyer’s new Coach David Blatt commented. The fact that Scheyer will rightfully earn an Israeli passport makes him highly profitable for Maccabi in the Israeli domestic league where only four American players could be registered on the game sheet. After being named a member of the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, joining NBA legends Red Auerbach, Larry Brown, Red Holzman, Ernie Grunfeld, Dolph Schayes, and many others, as well as Maccabi Tel Aviv’s former and current stars, Tal Brody and David Blu, Scheyer will make his European professional career debut in hopes of returning on day to the big stage, the NBA.