Jon Scheyer would do well to sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with Shaun Livingston about living up to unreal expectations.
For the most part, Scheyer cruised through this season with the same ease with which he solves a full-court press, unencumbered by the pressure that dogged Livingston's every crossover dribble.
Livingston, a senior, had led Peoria Central to the Class AA title and was rated by some recruiting services as the No. 1 player in the country.
Signing with Duke in November only added to the hype, which reached its peak in late January once NBA personnel people began projecting the smooth and unselfish 6-foot-7-inch point guard as a lottery pick in the June draft.
"With all the expectations, you would think I'm the almighty Livingston who's 9 feet tall and 300 pounds," he said.
This could be the fate awaiting Scheyer, who joins Livingston to headline the 2003-04 Tribune All-State Basketball Team.
With the three other first-team All-Staters--Ollie Bailey of Farragut, Calvin Brock of Simeon and Shaun Pruitt of West Aurora--all joining Livingston as June graduates, Scheyer could begin next season as the No. 1 player in Illinois.
Even now, talent scouts are forecasting a breakout off-season for the 6-6 guard, with his national ranking soaring near the top of his class.
All of that can wait for Scheyer, who is spending his spring break this week in sunny Palm Springs, Calif., enjoying life as a teenager.
"Making All-State as a sophomore is one of the most unbelievable accomplishments I could have in my career," Scheyer said. "I can't believe I got it. Look at how many great players there are in Illinois. It's the greatest honor."
It was also richly deserved. Scheyer led the inexperienced Spartans to a 25-4 season that ended with a loss to Schaumburg in the Class AA sectionals. He averaged 25.5 points, six rebounds and six assists while running the offense and defending against the opponent's top scorer.
While the legend of Livingston began in the 5th grade, Scheyer had just graduated from 8th grade when Marquette coach Tom Crean paired him up in a two-on-two game with Golden Eagle Dwyane Wade, now an impact rookie with the Miami Heat.
Even though the kid was schooled by Wade, Crean was impressed enough to tell him a scholarship would be his when he was ready.
What the Marquette coach observed throughout Scheyer's stay at his summer camp was his relentless work ethic and remarkable court vision. The following summer found Scheyer shooting 500 shots a day, some with one hand and others off one leg.
"I improved my shooting range to beyond the three-point line, and that opened up my driving as players came out to guard me," Scheyer said. "I had a different role my freshman year, playing with four seniors. This year, I could show everything in my game.
"Next year, with most of the guys coming back, my role could change again. I can see my scoring coming down but my assists going up."
Livingston, Bailey, Brock and Pruitt all were in Peoria last weekend, competing in the state tournament, and Pruitt helped West Aurora finish third.
"All these guys are winners," said Livingston, a co-most valuable player in Wednesday's EA Sports Roundball Classic, in which he collected 12 points and seven rebounds. "They are all the leaders of their teams, and you can see they have a lot in common. Each one had a lot of pressure on him, and you can see how each responded."
Great expectations on tap for Scheyer: The 2003-4 Tribune All-State boys basketball first team
Glenbrook North sophomore joins 4 seniors on 1st team
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
The Baltimore Sun encourages civil dialogue related to our stories; you must register and log-in to our site in order to participate. We reserve the right to remove any user and to delete comments that violate our Terms of Service. By commenting, you agree to these terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.