John Sher Prediction: New Duke coach faces Kansas in the first major test of his career

Replacing a legend at any school is not an enviable position, let alone a place to begin your major coaching career. And he did it in college basketball blue bloods like Duke? That makes it doubly difficult for what lies ahead for first-year head coach John Scheer.

But Scheyer The path to the top of the duke’s estate It has been etched in stone from the moment the legendary Mike Krzyzewski was launched Farewell tour all season. He was groomed and hand-picked by a Hall of Famer to take the reins of the Coach K program that was built into the juggernaut. He may be young and inexperienced but he makes up for it with zeal, recruiting ingenuity and a pleasant personality that people are drawn to.

So what are the realistic expectations for him while he takes over the program in 2022-23? What was the path he took to get to this point? And what does it deal with from a menu perspective?

With Duke facing its first real test of the Scheyer era on Tuesday against defending champion Kansas, here’s a look at the answers to all of those questions.

The Blue Devils have a lot of talent

It’s hard to judge what Duke has done so far this season and predict what he can do in the remainder of the 2022-23 season. I’ve faced off against Jacksonville and USC Upstate and, as expected, utterly destroyed both of them. But the talent is so good that our team as a whole sees her, on paper, as the clear No. 2 on the ACC behind foe North Carolina State. Jeremy Roach is one of the best veterans in the conference. Lively and Whitehead will likely be a top five pick in 2023. Mark Mitchell sounds like a huge steal.

Here’s their current rankings going into Tuesday’s game against Kansas:

No one on our team has ever picked Duke on our team Final Four preseason picks – Whitehead is recovering from a pre-season injury, and Lively has been dealing with a calf injury – so there is reason perhaps to take a wait-and-see approach with this squad. But there is no doubt that Scheyer can assemble a group of talented players who should be able to stick with any team in the sport. With Kansas almost on deck out of the gate this season, it should be a great test of where the Blue Devils stand, and where they can go.

Swing and swing in recruiting

Part of the reason—largely the reason, really—why Coach K announced his retirement so early was because, as he put it, he wanted to be open and honest with the recruits. Their recruitment and failure to disclose his plans to retire seemed suspicious. So he wanted it to be transparent. This elevated Scheer to the first active role on the enlistment path. Even as he was waiting in the wings to take over as head coach, recruiters wanted to hear from Coach K, sure, but they really wanted to hear from the man who would eventually run him.

Scheyer has done nothing but win on the road since then. In his first unofficial recruiting class, Duke landed in the 2022 tournament No. 2 overall Dereck Lively, No. 3 overall recruit Dariq Whitehead, No. 4 overall recruit Kyle Filipowski along with three four-star recruits and a three-star recruit stars. Ditch the #1 team rankings at 247Sports.

And that continued into the 2023 tournament as Duke is on track to finish again in the team rankings behind a star-studded class of commitments that includes five five-star prospects — three of whom are in the top 10 in 247 sports.

Scheyer’s path to the Duke job

Even before his high school career began, Shire was widely regarded as a top-level athlete with stellar potential at the college level. Tom Crane and Marquette gave him a scholarship in the eighth grade. Duke, Arizona, Illinois, and Wisconsin eventually joined the chase. But Duke won to land him—then a Top 50 national talent and four-star prospect—in a star-studded class that ranked fifth nationally that year.

Scheyer starred in Duke right away. As a junior, he started 32 games and averaged 12.2 points per game, third on a team loaded with NBA talent. This production was consistent over his career and he developed into an All-American campaign as a senior where he averaged 18.2 points, 4.9 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game while leading Duke to a 35-5 overall record and the NCAA Championship.

After his college career, he went without knits and ended up taking a stop overseas as a professional jumper that only lasted a few years. In 2014, he returned to Duke as an assistant on Coach K’s bench before working his way up to an associate head coach at Duke in 2018. Two days after Coach K announced that the 2021-22 season would be his last, Duke named Scheer a coach-in-waiting.

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