Though Lively was also recruited by Kentucky’s John Calipari, Michigan’s Juwan Howard, Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton, Memphis’s Penny Hardaway and North Carolina’s Hubert Davis, he verbally committed to Duke on Sept. 18.
“When Dereck goes to Duke, Coach Scheyer is the head coach, so why wouldn’t that head coach for my son be watching him?” Lively’s mother, Kathy Drysdale, said in a phone interview. “Coach K didn’t need to be there because he’s not going to be the coach.”
There are no real comparisons in recent memory to what Duke did with its succession plan. In June 2015, Syracuse announced that an assistant, Mike Hopkins, was the “head coach designate” and would succeed Jim Boeheim after the 2017-18 season. But more than six years later, Boeheim, who turns 77 on Nov. 17, is still the head coach at Syracuse. He has said he can coach until he is 80 or beyond. Hopkins, aware that his opportunity at Syracuse wasn’t on the horizon, left to become the head coach at Washington in 2017.
When Roy Williams retired from North Carolina on April 1 at 70, the university named his heir apparent, Davis, the new head coach four days later. Still, Davis and his staff have commitments from four class of 2022 prospects, including three four-star recruits.
Nothing has quite matched what Scheyer and his staff have accomplished on the recruiting trail so far.
On July 29, after missing out on playing at most of the prestigious Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., because he tested positive for the coronavirus, Kyle Filipowski, a highly touted 6-11 center from Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Massachusetts, became the first player to commit to Duke for the Scheyer era.
“Jon developed a strong relationship with Kyle back around April or May,” said Mike Mannix, Filipowski’s high school coach. “You can see Jon is very comfortable in his new role. He has a strong presence. He connects with players but now has a way about him that gives off the feel of leadership.”