Last February, as Duke was in the midst of a dismal stretch in which it dropped four of six games, associate head coach Chris Collins called guard Jon Scheyer into his office and administered some tough love. "He didn't think I was playing with an edge," says Scheyer, now a senior. "It was hard to hear, but he was right." The pep talk provided a jolt, but what truly electrified Scheyer was the decision by coach Mike Krzyzewski to move him from shooting guard to point guard following a loss at Boston College on Feb. 15. After the switch Scheyer averaged 18.6 points, 2.4 assists and 1.8 steals over the Blue Devils' final 12 games and was named MVP of the ACC tournament. "Jon was in a rut," Collins says. "The move allowed him to wipe the slate clean."

This season Scheyer is hoping for a happier ending. The Blue Devils were blitzed by Villanova 77--54 in the Sweet 16 last March, the fifth consecutive year they failed to reach the Elite Eight. Scheyer, who will resume point guard duties full time, is one of four returning starters on the biggest team Krzyzewski has coached in 30 years at Duke. The perimeter, which already included the 6'5" Scheyer and 6'2" junior guard Nolan Smith, will get taller this year when versatile junior Kyle Singler—one of six players on the roster who are 6'8" or taller—moves to small forward.

All that size will reduce the team's overall quickness and limit the end-to-end pressure that has been a staple of Krzyzewski's best teams. He has already said this team will play more zone defense than his others. This time the Blue Devils' biggest asset will be the experience and competitiveness of its nucleus.

Over the summer Scheyer discovered that his parents still had the Villanova debacle on their DVR. Though he grew frustrated watching the game, he also gleaned a better understanding of what it will take to maintain his edge next March. "They were tougher and more together than us," he says. "We can't let that happen again."

PROJECTED STARTING FIVE

Coach

Mike Krzyzewski (30th season)

2008-09 record

30--7

ACC

11--5 (T-2nd)

NCAA tournament

Sweet 16

[originallink:10861811:1004237]

POS. PLAYER HT. CLASS KEY STATS
PG Jon Scheyer 6'5" Sr. 14.9 ppg 2.8 apg
SG Nolan Smith 6'2" Jr. 8.4 ppg 1.7 apg
SF Kyle Singler 6'8" Jr. 16.5 ppg 7.7 rpg
PF Lance Thomas 6'8" Sr. 5.3 ppg 3.6 rpg
C Miles Plumlee 6'10" Soph. 1.8 ppg 1.4 rpg
KEY RESERVE
C Brian Zoubek 7'1" Sr. 4.1 ppg 3.7 rpg

Returning starter

SCHEDULE

Nov. 13 UNC Greensboro

Nov. 16 Coastal Carolina*

Nov. 17 Charlotte or Elon*

Nov. 21 Radford

Dec. 2 at Wisconsin

Dec. 5 St. John's

Dec. 15 Gardner-Webb

Dec. 19 Gonzaga†

Dec. 29 Long Beach State

Dec. 31 Pennsylvania

Jan. 3 Clemson

Jan. 6 Iowa State‡

Jan. 9 at Georgia Tech

Jan. 13 Boston College

Jan. 17 Wake Forest

Jan. 20 at North Carolina State

Jan. 23 at Clemson

Jan. 27 Florida State

Jan. 30 at Georgetown

Feb. 4 Georgia Tech

Feb. 6 at Boston College

Feb. 10 at North Carolina

Feb. 13 Maryland

Feb. 17 at Miami

Feb. 21 Virginia Tech

Feb. 25 Tulsa

Feb. 28 at Virginia

March 3 at Maryland

March 6 North Carolina

*NIT Season Tip-Off (semifinalists play in New York City on Nov. 25 and 27)

†in New York City

‡in Chicago

KEY GAME

This game could decide the ACC regular-season title, and it's also a chance for the Blue Devils to end Carolina's recent dominance: The Tar Heels have won four in a row at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

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PHOTOBOB ROSATOJON SCHEYER Coming off a strong finish last season, the 6'5" point guard leads a big lineup with bigger ideas than the Sweet 16. PHOTO

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)