With the 2011 NCAA Tournament upon us, everyone is busy filling out their bracket. The tournament is arguably the best sporting event of the year, and it has provided so many fans with memorable moments over the years. Some of the tournament’s stars go on to star in the NBA, but the NBA Development League is also home to several NCAA tournament veterans. In celebration of tourney time, D-League Digest is highlighting a few current D-Leaguers who played in March Madness of years past. Up first: Jon Scheyer of Duke University and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Scheyer, who joined the D-League in February, landed with the D-League defending champion Vipers, which seemed fitting after his championship run with the Duke Blue Devils.
Scheyer was the unlikely star, a looks-like-a-role-player type that simply produced game after game during his career at Duke, particularly as a senior last year. He scored in double figures in all but two games and was the leader of that Blue Devils squad that took home the 2010 national title. He put up 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in the finals against Butler.
As a clean cut, four-year Blue Devil shooting guard, the obvious comparison was JJ Redick. Scheyer was not as accurate a shooter nor as prolific a scorer as Redick, but he posted better career averages in rebounding and assists, and looked like a player that could catch on and contribute in the right situation with an NBA club.
After going undrafted, Scheyer tried to catch on during Summer League where he suffered a torn retina that sidelined him for months. For more on Scheyer’s comeback from an eye injury, check out Dime Magazine’s recent article. Once he was finally cleared to return, Scheyer chose to take the D-League route.
In seven games with the Vipers, Scheyer is playing 31 minutes per game, but he hasn’t found his shooting touch just yet, shooting 36.2 percent from the field and 24.3 percent from 3-point range. He posted a season-high 21 points in his last game, a 98-91 loss to Sioux Falls.
As Scheyer’s Blue Devils try to repeat as champions starting this week, their former leader continues to work to get back to the form that made him an NCAA champion in hopes that it can lead him to the NBA.