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Jon Scheyer:(Reluctantly) The Best Jewish College Basketball Player in the Country

by Jeremy Fine

March 21, 2010 | 4:28 am

Charlie Villanueva. Shaun Livingston. Julian Wright. All have gone to the NBA. All have had mediocre careers. And all have screwed over the Fighting Illini. They would get to their podium to announce their college decision and then leave you me in the cold. And now I hate them all fairly and equally.

But when Jon Scheyer snubbed Illinois and it hurt so much more. First off, Scheyer has a Jewish father. Also, he grew up not far from me. He was the talk of the town as a freshman in high school. Do you know how much nachas I would have gotten from rooting for this kid? Secondly, Scheyer played for the Illini’s coach, Bruce Weber’s brother in high school. So when he decided to pass on Weber’s offer and go with Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devil it was total shock and devastation for Jewish Chicagoans everywhere.

Naturally, we assumed Scheyer made the wrong decision. How would he fit in the fast pace ACC? Being a good Jewish boy from Chicago, wouldn’t he miss a good homemade Matzo Ball soup? But Scheyer proved us all wrong. Every year is numbers and playing time has increased. Because the yid can flat out score the basketball. In this his senior campaign Scheyer averaged 18.6 points a game, grabbed 3.6 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists. All of this while leading his Blue Devils to a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. Compare him to NBA All Star Deron Williams (former Illini God) who also led his team to a number one seed. Williams averaged 10.1ppg, 6.8apg, and 3.6rpg, so Scheyer faired pretty well against the NBA’s best.

Scheyer’s future looks bright. He should get drafted into the NBA this off-season joining Jordan Farmar and Omri Casspi as the only Jews in the league. He should fit in like a Mike Miller or J.J. Reddick type player. Bombing away from 3-point land and serving as a solid backup to the much quicker NBA guards.

While it pains me to say this, and I mean like seeing Zack Morris in anything else besides Saved By The Bell type pain, Jon Scheyer is the best Jewish college basketball player in the country. He might even be in the top five best players in the country, period.

Below is this year’s Jewish All American NCAA basketball team. Keep an eye on Sylven Landesberg who might follow Scheyer’s NBA career path.

Jewish NCAA Basketball All Americans
1) Jon Scheyer – G – Duke Blue Devils – 18.6ppg, 5apg, 3.6rpg
2) Sylven Landesberg – G – Virginia Cavaliers – 16.6ppg, 2.8apg, 6rpg
3) Jake Cohen – F – Davidson Wildcats – 13.3ppg, 5.1rpg
4) Dane Diliegro – C – New Hampshire Wildcats – 8.9ppg, 8.1rpg
5) Derek Glasser – G – Arizona State – 10.1ppg, 4.8apg, 2.5rpg

Jewish NCAA Basketball Honorable Mentions
1) Jon Jaques – G – Cornell Bears
2) Brett Harvey – G – Loyola Maryland
3) Jared Mintz – F – Lafayette Leopards

Enjoy the NCAA tournament. And keep an eye on Scheyer and Landesberg in this year’s NBA draft.
And Let Us Say…Amen.
- Jeremy Fine

For more information on everything Jewish in sports check out www.TheGreatRabbino.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Rabbi Jeremy Fine is the Assistant Rabbi at Temple of Aaron in St. Paul MN. He was ordained from the Jewish Theological Seminary where he also received a Masters in Jewish...

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