TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) Jon Scheyer joined Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv on Sunday, saying his college experience prepared him well for coping with high expectations.
Scheyer, the Northbrook IL. native, played his college basketball at Duke.
Because he is Jewish, Scheyer is eligible to become an Israeli and not count against a league cap on foreign players. He is expected to take a leading role for the defending Israeli champion, which lost the title game of this year’s European championship to Greece’s Panathinaikos.
“They had a great season last year and I want to build off that this year,” Scheyer told reporters a day after arriving in Israel for the first time.
Scheyer was mobbed by fans at the airport upon his arrival, and he was officially introduced Sunday by the team chairman, Shimon Mizrahi.
“At Duke, we had a target on our back every day,” Scheyer said. “Expectations are high too. When you lose a game, it’s a big deal at Duke. I think that is very similar to how it is here. I am used to those expectations, and I just want to live up to them.”
Maccabi lost just a single game in the Israeli league last year and reclaimed a title it has dropped only three times over the past four decades. The team has also claimed five European championships.
Scheyer, 23, led Duke to a national championship in his senior year in 2010. Hall of Fame Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has called Scheyer one of the best players he’s ever coached.
The 6-foot-5 guard was passed over in the NBA draft and then sustained a freak injury when he was poked in the eye with the Miami Heat’s summer league team. He suffered an injury to the optic nerve along with a tear in the retina of his right eye.
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