If we’re talking about NCAA Tournament heroes, how much better does it get than Jon Scheyer? After all, it was Scheyer who led the Blue Devils to the 2010 NCAA championship and the 2009 Sweet Sixteen.
No matter how badly those outside of Durham wanted him to fail.
Scheyer was your quintessential Duke guard, as he could shoot the lights out, facilitate at a high level and come up with the big shots when they were needed most. This was the story of his four-year career under Mike Krzyzewski, although it was never more evident than in 2010.
That was the year Scheyer was a finalist for six major awards, including the Naismith and Wooden honors.
Scheyer entered the 2010 NCAA Tournament having led the Blue Devils to their second consecutive ACC Tournament crown. He topped 15 points in each of those games and set a high standard for both he and the Blue Devils.
They lived up to it.
Scheyer was sensational, averaging 19.0 points, 4.8 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals from the Sweet Sixteen on. He made five 3-pointers in a 78-71 Elite Eight win over Baylor and an additional five during a 78-57 Final Four win over West Virginia.
Come the National Championship game, Scheyer countered everything Shelvin Mack and Gordon Hayward threw his way with 15 points, six rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal.
After Duke went scoreless for nearly three full minutes and allowed Butler to cut it to a two-point game, Scheyer scored five consecutive points. That proved to be the stretch of scoring which created the lead that Duke would never lose.
Even as Gordon Hayward memorably rimmed out a half court shot.
After going undrafted in 2010, Scheyer joined the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA D-League in 2011. Scheyer led the Vipers to the NBA D-League Finals, but Rio Grande eventually lost to the Iowa Energy despite his postseason averages of 11.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists.
Scheyer soon joined another title contender in Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel.
Scheyer was nearly cut by Maccabi Tel Aviv due to the rules that limit the team to four international players. Fortunately, Scheyer is of Jewish descent and was able to obtain Israeli citizenship, thus remaining with the team.
After playing for an extended period in Israel, Scheyer moved on to Gran Canaria of the Spanish Liga ACB. Scheyer has played quality minutes for Gran Canaria, averaging 5.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in that time.
Scheyer still targets the NBA as his end-goal.
One of the sixteen remaining teams in the 2013 NCAA Tournament are Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans. As one might expect with the Spartans, they have a long history of NCAA Tournament success.
In 2009, Goran Suton was the key to a magical Final Four run.
Suton, a product of Yugoslavia, was phenomenal in each and every game the Spartans played. During the Round of 64, he posted 11 points and 17 rebounds in 24 minutes during a 77-62 win over Robert Morris. In the following game, he locked down USC star and current Chicago Bulls sixth man Taj Gibson en route to a 74-69 win.
During the Sweet Sixteen, Suton tallied 20 points, nine rebounds, five steals and a block. With his ability to face-up and knock down a jumper, Suton guided the Spartans to a 67-62 win over Kansas.
During the Elite Eight, Suton dropped 19 points and 10 rebounds in a 64-52 win over Louisville. In turn, he received the Midwest Region’s Most Outstanding Player award.
Although the Spartans would lose to North Carolina during the National Championship game, Suton’s play was some of the greatest in Spartans tournament history. This led to his being selected with the 50th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.
Unfortunately, Suton would soon be cut by the Utah Jazz. That worked out in Suton’s favor, as he played for Cibona Zagreb and won the Croatian championship. He averaged 9.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in that time.
As it presently stands, Suton is playing for Cibona Zagreb’s rival Cedevita. Suton is seeing limited playing time in both Adriatic League and EuroLeague play, but still contributing at a quality level.
The wins keep piling up for this former Spartan.
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