Friedlander: Opposing coaches Jon Scheyer, Hubert Davis played role in shaping the Duke-UNC rivalry
Jacob Grandison, Duke’s oldest player, was only 11 when Jon Scheyer helped cut down the nets as a member of the Blue Devils’ 2010 national championship team. Tyrese Proctor, the youngest, was only 6.
So it’s doubtful they have any 1st-hand recollection of their coach’s playing career. Whatever knowledge they have of Scheyer’s time in a Duke uniform comes from what they’ve been told.
And in some cases, seen.
“Sometimes on recruiting visits, we will show old film,” the former Blue Devils point guard said. “Mine, whether it’s HD or not, you can still see who’s who. You start to pull out (assistant coach) Chris Carrawell’s film and it’s pretty grainy in 1998.”
If that’s the case, then the even older images from North Carolina coach Hubert Davis in action as a member of the Tar Heels during the late 1980s and early ‘90s must seem like the Zapruder film.
While the quality of the video might not be as technologically advanced as the kind that’s produced today, the quality of play that’s shown on it has clearly stood the test of time.
Both Scheyer and Davis enjoyed standout playing careers at their respective schools.
That’s why, despite this being their 1st meeting as their alma mater’s head coach, both are fully aware of when to expect when their teams meet at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday.
They aren’t just well-versed in the intensity and history of the Duke-UNC rivalry.
They’re actual participants who had a hand in making some of that history.
Scheyer had the better overall statistics, averaging 19.4 points in his 8 games against the Tar Heels as a 4-year starter compared to 11.1 for Davis, who didn’t become a regular until his junior season.
Davis, however, ended up with the better record from a team standpoint, going 6-5 in his 11 games while Scheyer’s record against UNC was only 3-5.
Though the games might have been played long ago – in one case longer than the other – the memories are still fresh in the minds of both.
“I remember every detail. Everything that went into each one of those games,” Davis said on Friday. “I played them 11 times. I remember everything.”
That includes scoring 16 points in an iconic 1992 win that has become known as “The Bloody Montross” game because of the facial wound suffered by Davis’ teammate and current Tar Heels broadcaster Eric Montross.
His best individual performance against the Blue Devils came in his final regular season appearance in the rivalry, on March 8, 1992 at Cameron. Even though he went 6 of 8 from 3-point range on the way to scoring a career-high 35 points, it’s a game he’d just as soon forget.
“We lost,” he said, adding that (Christian) Lattner “had zero in the 1st half and 20 in the 2nd half” to lead a Duke comeback.
Coincidentally, Scheyer’s most productive game against UNC also came in a loss. He scored 26 points in his first ever Battle of the Blues, on Feb. 7, 2007, in a 79-73 setback at Cameron.
Scheyer’s teams went 1-5 in his 1st 3 seasons at Duke. But they made up for it by winning their final 2 in 2010.
He scored better than 20 points in each of the victories, including 20, to go along with 7 assists and 5 rebounds in an emotional Senior Day game that served as a springboard for the Blue Devils’ national title run.
“They had some incredible teams during my years, just like they have ever since and vice versa with us,” Scheyer said. “Those are games you dream about playing in. The bigger it is, the better it is.”
And the competitive juices flow just as freely for the coaches as the players.
“It’s a different feeling, of course,” said Scheyer, who spent 9 years on the bench as Mike Krzyzewski’s assistant before taking over the program this season. “It’s special when Cameron is rocking.”
Despite its reputation, Smith Center can also get loud. Especially when the Blue Devils are in town.
But unlike Scheyer, Davis claims to be oblivious to the sights and sounds surrounding the most hyped rivalry in all of sports.
“The environment is great over there (at Duke),” he said. “I’m just saying that as a player you are so concentrated on what is real, and that’s you playing and now me coaching, that you don’t recognize, you don’t hear, you don’t pay attention to the environment.”
Maybe its been so long since Davis was a player that the noise level at Cameron is the 1 thing about the rivalry he doesn’t remember.
If that’s the case, there’s plenty of grainy film out there on the internet to help refresh his memory.