They are two of my all-time favorite guys
ORLANDO, Fla. — With the Duke Blue Devils set to begin their postseason run, Jon Scheyer took a moment to reflect on coaching two players that now call Central Florida home: Paolo Banchero and Wendell Carter Jr.
Scheyer spent nine seasons as an assistant coach under Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski in Durham. He was named the 20th head coach in program history in June 2021 and guided the Blue Devils to the NCAA Tournament in his first season in charge as the fifth seed after winning the ACC championship.
Of course, he coached some of the best players to ever step foot onto the hardwood at Duke since joining the coaching staff during the 2013-14 season, including Banchero and Carter.
Carter played with the Blue Devils during the 2017-18 season and was a unanimous pick to the ACC All-Freshman team. He became the seventh pick in the NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls in 2018 and joined the Orlando Magic in 2021 at the trade deadline. Banchero was named an All-American last season and helped the program reach the Final Four for the first time since 2015. He was the top pick of the Magic and is considered to be the favorite to win Rookie of the Year.
Scheyer and the Blue Devils will begin the NCAA Tournament on Thursday against No. 12 seed Oral Roberts at Amway Center, where Banchero and Carter play.
He is happy to have coached them at the collegiate level.
I was able to come down here in the fall to see them and just to see what they’ve done. I know Paolo last night (had) 27 in a loss (to the Spurs) and had a great game, but those are two of my all-time favorite guys.
They’re as talented as anybody to have come through here but also as coachable as can be and great guys off the court. I’m a Magic fan because of them, I can tell you that much. Hopefully, we have some good vibes and good memories in their city while we’re here.
Banchero and Carter have helped the Magic find success this season.
The team, despite losing to San Antonio on Tuesday, is 28-41 on the season and four games back of the last play-in spot in the Eastern Conference. They have already surpassed their win total from last season (22) with 14 games left to play.
Carter is having his best season yet, averaging a career-high 15.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 46 games. He has registered 18 double-doubles, which ranks 30th in the NBA. Banchero is averaging 20.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 62 games. He leads the rookie class in scoring and is one of two first-year players with multiple 30-point games (5).
Jeremy Roach, who played with Banchero last season, has been keeping up with him this season and has been impressed with his rookie campaign with the Magic.
He is also appreciative that they continue to stay in touch.
“(I’ve) been watching (Paolo) all season,” Roach said. “He’s been killing, doing his thing. Obviously, he has been coming back, showing support and texting me on the side. (He) is always showing love to Duke. That’s the brotherhood. Obviously, he went off to the NBA but they still have that connection with us. They still love us.”
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Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire