Visits to hundreds of high school gyms will not turn up a better point guard than Scheyer. Not just a point guard, he could also be a shooting guard like Kirk Heinrich at Kansas. With his ball-handling and adept passing, Scheyer also elicits comparisons to Luke Ridnour, the 2002 Pac-10 Player of the Year for Oregon. Scheyer's height and shooting skills make scouts think "two-guard", but Jon is a point man all the way. Watch him and you will see how he controls the game.
What has Scheyer accomplished in two high school seasons? He has put himself on the map in one of the top prep basketball cities in the country. While other players in the 2006 national class have received more notice than Scheyer, he still projects as one of the top 10. Jon was First Team All-State as a sophomore in 2004 after leading Glenbrook North HS to the sectionals with a 25-4 record. At the time, Scheyer was the only non-senior among those First Team All-State selections and was the only underclassmen on any of the first three All-State squads. As a freshman, he led Glenbrook North in scoring and assists while leading the Spartans to a third place finish in the Illinois state playoffs. Even though he plays on the perimeter, Scheyer has been double teamed for his entire career.
Scheyer was among the finalists for the Illinois "Mr. Basketball" award last season that went to Peoria's prep legend Shaun Livingston, a 6'7 point guard who won back-to-back state titles for Peoria. Livingston, who committed to Duke last fall but later decided to jump to the NBA, was chosen fourth overall by the Los Angeles Clippers. Livingston's prep fame rivals that of Kevin Garnett in Chicago.
Scheyer was the runner-up in Chicago's Player of the Year award. After just two seasons, Jon is already in great company. He's considered the best player in Illinois in the 2006 class and one of the ten best in the sophomore class nationally.
His basketball achievements aside, Jon is just a regular guy. He is Jim & Laurie Scheyer's third child after two daughters. "We always pictured ourselves with girls since that's how it worked out initially," said Laurie. "And though we felt blessed with our girls, it was nice to have a boy mixed in."
The Scheyer girls definitely enjoyed having a baby brother around to play with too. They helped their parents out with everything and anything. They made sure Jon had plenty of attention, sometimes a little too much. "I was kind of their living and breathing, real-life doll in a way," said Jon, speaking between laughs as he remembered growing up with two older sisters. "They would tease me quite a bit but most of the time they were nice about it. One time they played this trick on me as they were talking about gophers. And I was like, 'what's a gopher?'" They said go get this and that and then we'll tell you. It was always stuff like that."
While his sisters were truly big sisters, Jon's parents encouraged him to play sports. "My dad would always take me out and play anytime, and my parents and sisters came to either baseball or basketball games and rooted for me," Scheyer said. "My sisters are my best friends. I have the best family." His oldest sister Jenifer just graduated from Michigan while his other sister Brooke is attending the University of Texas. Both are English majors.
Scheyer's mother remembers seeing one of Jon's personality traits in sports early on. "Like his father, he played baseball as a youngster and he was very competitive," said Laurie. "They didn't keep any type of score in tee ball but he'd keep score in his head. Jon was probably the only one doing that out of anybody at the park. He's been like that his whole life."
When Jon started high school one sport became more important to him. "I really enjoyed playing baseball," Scheyer said. "In fact, I always loved basketball and baseball around the same. But once I started ninth grade, I started to enjoy being on the court more."
His early basketball skills developed under the guidance of his dad and Coach Lidskin of the Illinois Express. "My dad has always been the one I've looked up to the most in sports," said Scheyer. "He has always helped me on everything." Glenbrook North Head Coach David Weber, an assistant for 7 seasons at Eastern Illinois and the younger brother of University of Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber, pushed him to be even better.
During summers Scheyer is the point man for the Illinois Warriors, one of the nation's top AAU squads. The Warriors impressive alumni list include Dewayne Wade, Andre Iguodala, Darius Miles, Sean Lampley, Melvin Ely, Dennis Gates, Quentin Richardson, Troy Hudson, Brian Cardinal, Sergio McLain, A.J Guyton, Eric Vierneisel, DeAaron Williams and Shannon Brown - just to name a few. While Scheyer is one of the Warriors headliners for the class of 2006, teammate Julian Wright might be one of the top 5 players in the country in 2005.
"Julian's the best player I've ever played with and I think he's the best player in the country," said Scheyer. Wright is currently deciding between Arizona, Illinois, and DePaul. Together, Scheyer, Wright, and the rest of the Warriors just won the 2004 Peach Jam. The 2005 Illinois Mr. Basketball award might come down to either Scheyer or Wright.
As Jon's prep career now hits the midway point, universities across the country are recruiting him hard. "I've received offers from Kansas, Illinois, Cal, Michigan State, Duke, Iowa, and Marquette," said Scheyer. "I've been to most of the schools on that list already but I plan on visiting Cal in the fall, and perhaps seeing Arizona and UCLA."
Jon has family on the West Coast and he is certainly not opposed to leaving Chicago for college. His aunt lives in Northern California and he has an uncle in San Diego, both on his mother's side of the family. Still, he loves the Windy City.
"My girlfriend is here and I have a nice group of close friends, and obviously my parents are here too," said Scheyer. "If I do leave for college and go somewhere I still plan on living back in Chicago."
There is a lot of Chicago in Jon, it's in his voice. He lists his favorite player as Michael Jordan and his favorite restaurant as Portillo's. "I'd say the one thing that most people don't know about me is that I really like to joke around a lot. My sisters taught me that."
Scheyer is still working on facets of his game. He has a drive to improve his game one way or another in every practice. "Right now I'm working on moves off the dribble, and creating space for my jumper," said Scheyer. When asked about how important is for him to play point guard at the college level, Scheyer surprised us. "It's not the number one aspect that I'm looking at but it is important to me. I do like the ball in my hands. I'm comfortable on the court that way and though I know I'm tall as a point guard, I feel I'm an effective passer. I like to get everybody involved."
Along with Coach Weber's connections with Illinois, Duke assistant coach and former Blue Devils shooting guard Chris Collins is Glenbrook North's most famous basketball player. Jon has a good shot at breaking Collins' all-time Spartans scoring mark. California Head Coach Ben Braun played baseball with Jon's father and is a former Chicago area student, teacher, and coach. So the Scheyer's are well known already in college basketball circles. Even without those connections Jon's game would stand on its own merits.
"It's really an honor to be well thought of and recruited as I've been so far," said Scheyer. "I'm definitely learning a lot and enjoying it."
During the course of his junior season, Jon will keep a journal that will be published here at The California Insider .He will be writing summaries from time to time about his games, his best practical jokes, and whatever is on his mind. Every few months he will keep fans updated about his college visits, AAU & high school teams, and thoughts on the recruiting process.
He'll also answer questions that readers might have about his journal entries so feel free to write to him by clicking here. The same link can be used to send emails to our other journal authors such as Anthony Goods, Drew Shiller, and James Keefe. They'll try to answer questions during their updates.
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