Jon Scheyer walks over to the Cameron Crazies.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Jon Scheyer Learns What It's Like to Be a Cameron Crazy

Duke head coach Jon Scheyer has been a Blue Devil since 2006, but he became a member of the Cameron Crazies for one night.

Jon Scheyer has been a Duke Blue Devil since 2006. For one night, he got to be a Cameron Crazy.

"I tell you, it's hot over there," he said.

The second-year Duke coach played 144 games in front of Duke's raucous student section and has been a part of the Duke staff since the 2013-14 season. But he's always sat, crouched or paced in front of the Duke bench — on the far side of the court at Cameron Indoor Stadium from the student section.

History is hazy, but the best guess is that starting in his junior year, the fans — known for decades as the Cameron Crazies — have been inviting recruits and luminaries sitting in the crowd at Duke games to "sit with us," chanting until they get a response from their target. Everyone from former Blue Devils including Kyrie Irving and JJ Redick to celebrities such as Emmitt Smith and Tony Romo have gotten the invitation over the last 15 years.

The most common use of the chant, however, has been with visiting high school stars considering playing for the Blue Devils. Austin Rivers was one of the first to get invited, back in 2010. Chase Jeter, five years later, is believed to be the first to take the students up on their offer. Since then, everyone from Jayson Tatum to Zion Williamson has paid the Crazies a visit — although "sit with us" is a misleading part of the chant, since the students stand, shoulder to shoulder, on top of the bleachers for the entire game.

Duke held its season-opening Countdown to Craziness exhibition game on Friday, and it was an unusually busy recruiting day, with Scheyer hosting a half-dozen top prospects. The Blue Devils' three 2024 commitments — Kon Knueppel, Isaiah Evans and Darren Harris — were there, along with three potential teammates in Cooper Flagg, VJ Edgecombe and Patrick Ngongba II.

The six all took seats behind the scorer's table, near the Duke bench. Seconds later, Scheyer emerged from the locker room and sat at the table in front of them, turning to speak to them while his assistants coached the Blue-White game.

Midway through the game, the Crazies began chanting — first for Flagg, a five-star wing rated as the consensus top prospect in the class of 2024. He quickly made his way across the court to join the students.

The Crazies then turned their attention to each of the others, who responded in kind, until Scheyer was sitting alone at the scorer's table while all of his recruiting targets were on the other side of the hardwood.

Then the Crazies began chanting, "Jon Scheyer, sit with us."

"I wasn't expecting that," he said. "I literally was not even listening. And then somebody, I think (assistant coach) Chris Carrawell was next to me, he said, 'They're calling you.' And I said, 'They're calling me?'"

So Scheyer walked over to join the six recruits in the student section and learn how hot it was with all those Crazies pressed together.

"It's not an easy job they have," he said. "They're fun. It's the only time I'll go over there. I didn't even think for Countdown. I would go over there. But they're the best. Really, to fill up that entire section is not easy thing. You know, we don't have 30,000 kids at the school. We have 6,000 undergrad, and so the turnout and the support is just incredible. It's part of what makes this place so special."

It was a good time for Scheyer to get an appreciation for that side of Duke basketball since, earlier in the day, he'd signed a contract extension that would keep him on the Duke bench through the 2028-29 season.

"I'm lucky to be at Duke," he said. "I've been fortunate since I've been 16 years old. I was (here at) 25, 33. To get that done, I think is great. It's important. I'm committed to Duke. To know that they're committed to me as well and our staff and the job we've done is great."

"I was a little bit emotional watching them out there," he continued, "because what happens is you have 12 guys on scholarship. They all were being recruited by other places. They could have gone pro. They could've done other things. And they're committed to Duke, and hopefully, everybody in this room knows I'm committed to Duke, too. So that's been something for me just seeing the crowd tonight, seeing the support has been such a special thing, but it's an honor for me to be the coach, and I'll never take that for granted."

He'll also never take for granted the crazy students braving the body heat across the floor from him.

MORE: Duke's Cameron Crazies Are Easily College Basketball's Wildest Student Section