After much speculation from those who keep tabs on domestic Jewish basketball stars (Lord knows there are few), Jon Scheyer, the former Duke University guard who guided the Blue Devils to the 2010 NCAA championship, has signed with the Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv.
With Scheyer, Maccabi gets one of those undersize jump-shooters, rich in basketball IQ but plagued with the limited athleticism of a seventh man on a Jewish community center house league squad. For Maccabi, though, Scheyer’s Jewish heritage might be just as important: He’ll be listed on the roster as an Israeli; the Israeli Super League imposes a quota on foreign players per team.
Of course, Maccabi Tel Aviv wasn’t Scheyer’s first choice. A bout of mononucleosis around the 2010 NBA draft workouts and a debilitating eye injury later that summer shot his chances at latching onto an NBA team. Maccabi believes that the 23-year-old will be able to reclaim the shooting touch that earned him a slew of college basketball honors in his senior year at Duke.
“I wanted Jon already last season, and I’m very happy that we managed to sign him,” (http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/sports/basketball-the-new-duke-of-tel-aviv-1.368616) Maccabi head coach David Blatt said in Haaretz. “Jon is a very talented and smart player. He is a true winner, despite his young age. And no less importantly, he is a Jew who is coming to Israel, and I hope he stays here for many more years.”