Jon Scheyer could be acting Duke basketball head coach next season

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and associate head coach Jon Scheyer (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and associate head coach Jon Scheyer (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

Jon Scheyer’s job description seems to have steadily grown from year to year, but it’s possible the Duke basketball treasure will suddenly see a heavy load of new responsibilities this fall.

Nobody knows what November will look like. Nobody knows if college hoops will begin then, months later, or not at all. But as CBS Sports insider Gary Parrish pointed out this week, should the 2020-21 season take place, the thought of Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his over-65 peers roaming the sidelines sparks some concerns:

“This is a sport where the coaches at some of the top programs — most notably 76-year-old Jim Boeheim at Syracuse, 74-year-old Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, and 70-year-old Roy Williams at North Carolina — are, according to the CDC, ‘at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19.’ So if it’s being deemed unsafe for older teachers to return to their classrooms, logically speaking, here’s my question: Why would it be safe for older coaches like Boeheim, Krzyzewski, and Williams to return to their locker rooms?”

As Parrish’s article suggests, Coach K could end up watching both games and practices from a distance. Should that indeed become reality, the logical choice to act as head coach from the bench, in the locker room, and on the practice court would be Jon Scheyer.

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While it would be less than ideal not to have the all-time wins leader front and center, it wouldn’t be the end of the Duke basketball world. Not only is Scheyer a former player and current associate head coach who has held one role or another in Durham for 11 of the past 14 seasons, but the 32-year-old has also regularly exhibited during that span both the strategic mind to be a winning teacher and the personality to inspire athletes.

Remember, if not for Scheyer having the foresight to instruct point guard Tre Jones on how to purposely miss a free throw, then Duke would not have demoralized North Carolina and Dean Dome patrons last season.

And if not for Scheyer having a sharp, friendly, trustworthy demeanor that has led to him falling inside the top five on the 247Sports Recruiter Rankings for three years running, then the roster for next season might consist of less five-star talent.

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On Wednesday, ESPN tabbed Scheyer as the nation’s ninth-best coach under the age of 40 and included the following blurb:

“After winning a national championship with the Blue Devils, Scheyer played overseas for a couple of seasons and then went back to Durham to join Mike Krzyzewski’s staff. He has developed as a recruiter and has played a key role in Duke’s highly ranked recruiting classes. The next in line to reach head coach from the Krzyzewski coaching tree.”

ALSO READ: Six reasons Mike Krzyzewski may never retire

Hopefully, enough normalcy will return in time for Coach K to safely guide — from the bench — a Duke basketball team that will feature four returning players who played significant minutes last season, six incoming freshmen who rank among the top 45 on the 247Sports 2020 Composite, and a graduate transfer who showed promise in the paint across three seasons at Columbia.

If not, though, then beginning with the scheduled opener against Michigan State on Nov. 10 at the Champions Classic in the Windy City, look for Chicago-area native Jon Scheyer to wield the necessary tools to quickly prove worthy of the No. 1 spot on the best-under-40 list.

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