Sunday, August 14, 2011

Scheyer Needs to Shine

Recently, there has been a good amount of press covering Jon Scheyer's inevitable decision to head to Israel, play for Maccabi Tel Aviv and try to get another NBA tryout. Scheyer was a tremendous college player, that stood up to every challenge. Having followed Scheyer since his Glenbrook North High School days, I knew he was something special. He proved that at Duke, by leading the Blue Devils to a National Championship. He showed leadership, poise, and the ability to do everything on the court that a guard should do. But it wasn't enough to get drafted. After his horrible injury during a Miami Heat summer league game, Scheyer struggled to show scouts that he deserved a roster spot. He joined the Clippers summer team for a short amount of time, but that failed as well. This year he had a short stint in the NDBL.

Scheyer spent most of the year training and getting ready to play again. And a little while back announced his move to Tel Aviv. Great move for him. European basketball will get Scheyer in great shape. Allow for him to shoot the ball from long range, something he excels at. The game will be fast paced and he has a great chance at making a nice name for himself and giving him another shot at the NBA dream. Maccabi will play the very best in the world and Scheyer will be showcased. Scheyer could have been that missing element alongside Jeremy Pargo to help Maccabi win the championship that they were so close to capturing last year.

But enter Jordan Farmar. Farmar has signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv if the NBA season continues its lockout. Farmar does two things to Scheyer's career. One, it takes the attention away from Scheyer. That might sound petty, but its really a big deal. If the idea is to get to the NBA then having a bigger name than you on the team will place a shadow over Scheyer's game and ability to shine. But secondly, it takes the ball out of Scheyer's hands. Farmar will certainly handle the point guard duties 95% of the time. Scheyer now becomes a role player. The shooter like a Mike Miller or J.J. Reddick. Most people expect Scheyer to fill that type of role NBA. But playing in Europe was supposed to help build his skills in other ways. We know the kid can shoot. But to play in the NBA, he needed to show more and I am afraid he won't get that chance with Farmar running the team.

For Jews this means Scheyer might be in Israel for more than 2 years. Scheyer needs to get better, faster, and stronger. Similar to what Anthony Parker needed. Maybe having to guard Farmar in practice will aid that cause, but scouts don't watch practice. They want to see in game results. Only time will tell. Its an interesting story to watch. We are excited for Scheyer regardless and of course proud of both him and Farmar for going to Israel and representing their Jewish heritage.

And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

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