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Jewish Duke Star Heads to Israel’s Duke

Jon Scheyer will play hoops for Maccabi Tel Aviv

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Jon Scheyer in April 2010, upon leading Duke to the NCAA championship.(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jon Scheyer, the Jewish college basketball star who as a senior led Duke to the 2010 NCAA championship, failed to make the cut of several NBA teams (blame for this goes to a post-graduate battle with mononucleosis as well as, perhaps, the additional ailment of not-being-quite-good-enough-for-the-NBA). Instead, as many predicted, he is making for the homeland: He has signed to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The reason this is perfect (and I double-checked this with office Israeli Liel Leibovitz) is that, in Israeli basketball terms, Maccabi Tel Aviv is Duke; or, rather, it is Duke if every other team were Clemson. It has won the Israeli championship 49 times! Including, once, 23 years in a row! It has even won five European championships, including two last decade. So Scheyer should feel right at home playing for a smug, entitled champion.

Ex-Duke Guard Jon Scheyer Signs with Maccabi Tel Aviv [JTA]
Earlier: Champion Scheyer Could Make B’ball Aliyah

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Historically, Duke players don’t do well in the NBA. Even Grant Hill didn’t live up to his promise.

Marc Tracy says:

@fw yeah but that was primarily injuries. and think how good Jay Williams would’ve been w/o his accident. actually, I think the case you could make is that the truly touted players have underwhelmed (Elton Brand, Christian Laetnner, even Carlos Boozer), while the Scheyer-esque role-player types (J.J. Redick, Shane Battier) have been welcome surprises. And you have no idea how much it pains me to type that.

Two words: Danny Ferry

By the way, I’d give you Johnny Dawkins. On the other hand, the comparison with North Carolina is instructive, I think. They of course had the immortal squad of Michael Jordan, James Worthy and Sam Perkins, as well as our own Larry Brown.

jerome says:

Jon Scheyer led his high school basketball team to an Illinois state championship. The remarkable thing about the team (aside from their victories over well regarded Chicago public school teams) was that all five of the starters were Jewish.

We wish Duke all the best and hope that he will succeed with his new team.
Maccabi Tel-Aviv is our best sport idol and his success is very important for the National Moral.

Finally someone breaking Maryland’s stranglehold on ex-ACC ballers in Israel (Gilchrist, Jasikevicius, T-Mor, Ibekwe, and, in a sense, Tamir Goodman). Love the implicit Duke-hating of the last line. Go Terps! Go Betar Jerusalem!


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Jewish Duke Star Heads to Israel’s Duke

Jon Scheyer will play hoops for Maccabi Tel Aviv

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