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Duke basketball coach Jon Scheyer moving on from the Coach K era

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John Scheier felt a surge of excitement as he stepped onto the Cameron Indoor training ground on Monday afternoon.

The 35-year-old has grown accustomed to the pomp and circumstance of being Duke’s basketball coach: extra interviews and more time away from his growing family, not to mention prolonging the wait to replace former Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski. It’s all he expected when he was named the successor to coach K. off-season before last year’s Final Four.

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But the first official practice with your first team?

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“It was a big deal,” Shyer said on Tuesday. “I don’t know if I pinched myself or didn’t believe it, I believed it for sure. It’s been a great day, but I’m just focusing on the next day and I know there’s a lot more to come and hopefully a lot of great ones.”

Duke Deputy Head Coach John Scheyer gestures to Head Coach Mike Krzyszewski ahead of the team's game against Arkansas in the 2022 NCAA Tournament Western Region Finals at the Chase Center.
Duke Deputy Head Coach John Scheyer gestures to Head Coach Mike Krzyszewski ahead of the team’s game against Arkansas in the 2022 NCAA Tournament Western Region Finals at the Chase Center.
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It was a moment the young coach had marked off on his calendar — the start of a new chapter at Duke with a team of new faces unbound by last year’s overwhelming expectations.

Of course, Duke always expects to win.

Illinois alumnus Jacob Grandison recalls discussing the pressure of playing Duke with Scheier when he first arrived on campus.

“He said, ‘Dude, don’t you think I’m under the most pressure in the world to do what Coach K did? I don’t care,” Shier told Grandison. “I’m here to win.”

He has certainly built a team that can challenge for the national title.

The Blue Devils roster includes three of the country’s best recruits from the Class of 2022, including a 7’1″ center. Derek Lively II6-6 light forwards Daric Whitehead and 6 foot 11 forwards Kyle Flipowski. He added four-star point guard Tyrese Proctor after the Sydney, Australia freshman was reclassified in June, and will have the veteran guidance of junior quarterback Jeremy Roach to anchor the young talent.

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“Obviously last year was exaggerated because it was Coach K’s last year,” said Roach, who became a star during Duke’s NCAA Tournament. before losing to North Carolina in the Final Four. “But every year, Duke is always a target.”

Scheier made sure to maintain a close relationship with Krzyszewski — the 75-year-old still holds his post on campus — while emphasizing youthful change in one of college basketball’s premier programs.

“I actually saw him yesterday,” Shayer said of Krzhizhevsky. “We didn’t get to the depths of our team because, to be honest, I didn’t go into it. But we have a really special relationship.”

Scheier made some changes, most notably hiring Jai Lucas of Kentucky as an assistant coach. Coach K always tried to hire from the inside.

“One of the things that really attracted me was his (Scheyer’s) ability to put up with change and an outsider’s perspective,” Lucas said. “That’s what he said he wanted.

Shyer also introduced new team building activities with the help of his famous friend. Recording artist Mike Posner, who went to Duke school, introduced him to the Wim Hof ​​breathing method that Shyer used on his team. It was Posner who conducted the session with the guide with Duke’s team. Scheier called it “an insane yet purposeful experience”.

“It was something I personally never did,” Flipowski said. “But I think it helped the team a lot. We were able to de-stress and think about the kind of people we are and where we want to go as a team.”

The Zen approach has shown itself during training and team training. Roach said Shyer has a lighter approach to players, as opposed to Krzyzewski’s more edgy style.

“He’s good at giving directions, but at the same time keeping the kids awake,” he said.

The biggest difference for the team is Shyer’s physical role in training. Unlike Krzyzewski, the much younger Scheyer and former Duke protector is able to practice what he preaches on the court.

“I mean, he’s definitely a lot younger,” returned defenseman Jaylen Blakes said with a laugh. “He can get on the court and really show us what he wants us to do. Coach K tried to do it, but you know he didn’t do it often.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Duke Coach John Scheier Steps Out of Mike Krzyszewski Era


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