Player Profile: Jon Scheyer (Northbrook, Illinois)
Glenbrook North guard Jon Scheyer is one of the nation's top hoop recruits because he refuses to back down from a challenge
By Jon Mahoney
Glenbrook North head coach David Weber thought the game was over. His Spartans were trailing Proviso West, 71-58, with 1:24 remaining in the Proviso West Tournament earlier this season and were on the verge of having their 35-game winning streak snapped. After handing his clipboard to the team manager, Weber looked up and began to witness one of the greatest individual performances he'd ever seen. Glenbrook North senior Jon Scheyer was in the zone and was refusing to concede defeat despite the 13-point deficit and lack of time on the clock.
The 6-foot-6, 180-pound combo guard scored an astounding 21 points in 75 seconds -- including four 3-pointers and a four-point play -- to cut the deficit to two before fouling out with 6.6 seconds left. The Spartans ended up losing the game, 85-79, but Scheyer finished with a single-game tournament record 52 points and displayed a will not normally seen in a player his age.
"In that stretch, you could just see the look on his face that if we're going to lose, we're going to go down fighting," says Weber, who just finished his 11th season at the Spartans' helm. "You could see the competitiveness coming out in him." Of course, for those who know Scheyer, competitive is his middle name and his drive to succeed is a big reason why he's rated the nation's No. 27 hoop recruit in the Class of 2006 by SchoolSports.com.
Take, for example, the Proviso West Tournament, when the Spartans had to play four games in four days, including Scheyer's 52-point outburst against Proviso West on the second day. After the third game, in which Glenbrook North defeated Fenwick, Scheyer had pushed himself so hard that he passed out in the locker room. The paramedics came, but Scheyer thought he'd be OK. However, when he still didn't feel well the next day, he was taken to the hospital and treated for dehydration.
But rather than rest at the hospital, he made it back by halftime of his team's game against New Trier. Amazingly, Scheyer went into the game in the third quarter and scored six points to break the Proviso West Tournament career scoring record with 386 points.
"I love when people say that 'You can't do this,'" says Scheyer. "That's always fun to me. I'm looking for challenges all the time."
Both Weber and assistant coach Scott Lidskin found that out when they made the mistake of challenging Scheyer this season. Scheyer asked Lidskin how many consecutive free throws the coach thought he could make. Lidskin said 37 and Scheyer hit the gym with his father, Jim.
Scheyer spent hours in the gym that night, making as many as 36 in a row at one point. But he refused to leave until he hit that magic number.
"My dad said we could just leave, but I was like, 'No way,'" says Scheyer. "It would kill me if I just left. I stayed for a while until I made 37."
There was also the time Weber came up with what he thought would be a difficult drill for Scheyer -- making 100 3-pointers in 10 minutes. That's an average of 10 3-pointers every minute, a task that not only requires excellent shooting ability but incredible endurance as well. But it was no sweat for Scheyer.
"He called me up and left a message and said, 'Coach, you've got find tougher drills for me,'" says Weber.
While Scheyer has welcomed every challenge that's come his way, there was one last May that was extremely difficult to handle, even for him. Scheyer had narrowed his college choices to Duke and Illinois but was torn between the schools. What made matters worse was that Weber's brother, Bruce, is the coach at Illinois.
"I don't know if anyone has been through that situation before," says Scheyer, who eventually chose Duke and signed with the Blue Devils in November. "I don't know if either of us knew how to deal with it. Coach (David) Weber handled it as well as anyone could, and I did too. I feel for him, but it worked out and our relationship is stronger now."
"It was difficult at times," adds Weber. "I wanted him to go to Illinois, no question about it. We talked and he understood that. It's over with and it's done. I think it's going to work out for everyone. It's his decision and I respected it. I just want him to have a great career at Duke."
Along with Weber's support, Scheyer knows his dad and his mom, Laury, are behind him every step of the way as well.
"My dad has never put pressure on me to go into the gym and work hard," says Scheyer, who was named a McDonald's All-American this year. "That's why basketball is fun for me. I credit my dad a lot for that. He's been a big influence. My mom is someone that is so important. She is just one of the most caring people I've ever known in everything." Scheyer believes the relaxed atmosphere created by his parents has allowed him to play his game without worrying about criticism. That's why he seems so at ease on the court, which led Weber to start him on varsity since his very first game as a freshman. After impressive freshman and sophomore campaigns, Scheyer took it to another level his junior year by averaging 25.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game and earning Gatorade state Player of the Year honors.
He also led Glenbrook North to the Class AA state title, the first in school history and an accomplishment that meant more than all the individual accolades.
"It's something I always wanted to do as a kid," says Scheyer, who averaged 29 points, 5.7 rebounds and four assists per game this season to lead the Spartans to the Class AA state quarterfinals. "I always thought it was going to happen. It was really amazing for us to do it. It's something I always replayed in my mind since I was little."
Weber says Scheyer's amazing accomplishments are the result of countless hours spent studying hoops and working on his game. Scheyer will often watch old footage of Michael Jordan and Pete Maravich to try to pick up pointers from two of the best who ever played. He'll then hit the gym to practice some of their moves.
"He's definitely a basketball junkie," says Weber. "He's not just playing in pickup games. When he goes into the gym, he has a purpose. He finds a gym to improve his game. That's what separates him. He understands what makes a player better and he works at it."
At Duke, Scheyer knows he'll have to work even harder and the competition will be even better. But then again, he's never one to shy away from a challenge.