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Duke Coach Jon Scheyer Talks Coronavirus Impact on Recruiting, Future of Games

Video Duration:

Sports Illustrated's Jason Jordan interviews Duke associate head coach Jon Scheyer to discuss the college team's recruitment plans and what games of the future will look like, should stadiums limit capacity due to the pandemic.

Here's the full video transcript:

Jason Jordan: In the last decade, Duke associate head coach John Scheyer has led his team to a national title as a player, he has been a part of a team that won the title in 2015, and now he had to tell his team this year that they couldn't even vie for a national title. So all of that in the course of 10 years. And he's here with us this morning right now. Coach Scheyer, what's going on man? 

Jon Scheyer: Jason, I appreciate you having me on. 

Jason Jordan: Absolutely, I'd imagine you're in a very creative headspace right now, especially from a recruiting perspective, I'd imagine you all have had to be very creative in the way you approach recruiting now. Would you say that that's accurate?

Jon Scheyer: It's very accurate. And, you know, it's such an unusual time. This is really that time of year, we would have already seen some of our recruits multiple times in person. And clearly, that hasn't happened for us or for anybody else. And so it's led to Zoom calls with recruits, which, you know, I give Coach K [Krzyzewski] a lot of credit. He's gotten really good at it. And same thing with our staff. And then figuring out ways where we can connect without seeing them in person is just an unusual thing to figure out. But we're lucky to have, you know, a creative team. You know, it's a lot of time where we're not on the road. And so you really get a chance to focus in on this. And it's really been a great challenge, to be honest with you. 

Mike Krzyzewski

Jason Jordan: Obviously the NCAA has extended the period to June 30th now so we're going to be in this space for a while, obviously. I've talked to a lot of elite players who say that they find themselves—because they have so much free time—they find themselves thinking and they think about a lot of recruitment. So do you guys—does that change your approach at all? Like in terms of cornering the market, like are you more aggressive with your approach, maybe trying to get guys to commit earlier than you would?

Jon Scheyer: You know for us, we always go by what the recruit is thinking, right. And so for somebody, I think it's important to know what their timeline is. We will adjust to that. And I think the coronavirus, you know, COVID-19 doesn't really impact us in terms of us—look, if someone wants to commit tomorrow that's great. But, you know, I think we'll see our fair share. I think some guys may do something early and some guys may wait because of what's going on. We'll respect either way and frankly it's up to them completely. 

Jason Jordan: Right. And we're starting to see a lot of—well not a lot—but schools are starting to trickle in, kind of adjust their academic calendars. So what people are thinking is that will affect the athletic calendars. There's some noise being kicked around that maybe college basketball starts a little late, right? Is that a scenario you guys have heard? And is that something you are at least putting on the table to plan for?

Jon Scheyer: You know, we haven't heard anything specifically. I think the thing that we've learned from, you know, going through the ACC tournament and in the NCAA tournament, just seeing what's happened with our country, you need to be very flexible. I think to say, you know, anything's set in stone in this—you know right now, whatever date it is, I get all my days mixed up right now J—but I think that for us, we've talked about as a staff, being able to adapt to whatever the calendar is. School starts earlier, later, season starts earlier, later. All those things we need to be prepared for.

Jason Jordan: Indeed. And, you know, whether school starts, the season starts on time or not, what will probably not happen is full capacity at stadiums now. Cameron Indoor Stadium, best in show, right? A lot of your advantage is having the students on top of everybody, hounding them the whole time. Let's just say 50 percent capacity crowd at Cameron, what would that even feel like?

Cameron Indoor Stadium

Jon Scheyer: You bring up such a good point. It's hard to envision that because, you know, I've probably been a part of, you know—I was pretty good at math at one time—but, you know, a couple hundred games at Cameron and I mean every one has been full. So to imagine where it's 50 percent. I think there's still something about like, look—even when you're in Cameron and it's empty, you know, sometimes you go in there late at night or you’re the first one in the gym for practice or whatever it may be, it has just an aura to it and a feel, something special about it. And so I think that’ll still be there no matter what. But of course, just like anything, I mean, it's the people that made that place special. And so we'll have to adjust, you know, we've always talked about no excuses. So, you know, both teams are in the same situation, I guess, you know, moving forward when that time comes.

Jason Jordan: Yes, indeed. Definitely a wait-and-see for everybody. Coach Scheyer, thanks for joining us this morning. 

Jon Scheyer: Thank you. Thank you again for having me. 

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