Illinois has been a fertile recruiting ground for Duke, coach Mike Krzyzewski and assistant Jon Scheyer over the years.
But Yorkville Christian’s Jaden Schutt is Duke’s first Illinois prospect to commit since Scheyer was named the Blue Devils’ coach-in-waiting.
Scheyer, who is set to take over for the legendary Krzyzewski following the 2021-22 season, has secured a commitment from the state’s best shooter and arguably its best prospect.
Schutt took an official visit to Duke this past weekend and ended a process that included visits and offers from several Big Ten programs. The 6-5 guard took an official visit to Michigan State and an unofficial visit to Illinois in June and was set to visit Florida in September.
But Schutt ended it on Tuesday morning when he committed to Scheyer and the Blue Devils before making a formal and public announcement on Wednesday.
It was the connection Schutt felt with Scheyer, the former Illinois high school basketball prodigy and McDonald’s All-American from Glenbrook North, that stood out. One of Schutt’s earliest memories of watching NCAA Tournament championship games as a kid, he says, was when Duke and Scheyer took down Butler in 2010.
The link between Schutt and Scheyer was only enhanced during his official visit this past weekend when he was able to sit down and talk to his future head coach — and the Duke staff and players — in person.
“The relationship with coach Scheyer and the staff — it just felt comfortable talking about basketball and other things outside of basketball,” said Schutt. “There was a level of comfort I had with them that stood out to me.
“It was a great, all-around feeling I had while I was down there and a really cool atmosphere. All the players love it there and they were recruiting me hard as well. It’s a very successful school, both basketball, obviously, and academically.”
An elite shooter with textbook form, outstanding range and an ability to get his shot off, Schutt has been a prolific scorer at Yorkville Christian since he arrived.
The pure-shooting guard averaged 24 points a game this past season and has already scored 1,400 career points. Schutt, who made 17 three-pointers in one game during his sophomore season, has a whopping 217 career three-pointers in three seasons.
After a standout summer where he helped lead the Illinois Wolves to an Under Armour Association championship on the grassroots basketball circuit, Schutt’s national reputation has risen.
Scheyer has been busy assembling a top-notch recruiting class — only now it’s for himself and his program. He has already landed two five-star prospects in the Class of 2022 in 6-10 forward Kyle Filipowski out of Massachusetts and 6-8 Dariq Whitehead from Montverde Academy in Florida, Now he’s tapped into Illinois to secure a top 100 talent in Schutt.
The Yorkville Christian star is excited to be part of Scheyer’s first recruiting class.
“It’s an honor to be a part of this class, the belief he has in me is real,” said Schutt. “They’ve had some great shooters and know how to utilize those shooters and know what to do with a player with my skill set. They have had a lot of players like me that have gone through Duke that have had a lot of success, both in college and the NBA.”
Schutt joins a long list of top Illinois players who have headed to Duke over the past four decades, including Scheyer. The former Glenbrook North star was an All-American at Duke and led the Blue Devils to a national championship.
Young’s Jahlil Okafor and DJ Steward, Simeon’s Jabari Parker, Fenwick’s Corey Maggette, Glenbrook North’s Chris Collins and Julian’s Sean Dockery are a few of the former Illinois prep stars who went on to play at Duke.
“This has definitely been a different experience, unlike any other,” said Schutt of the recruiting process. “It was a blessing to be recruited by all these great schools and have so many choices and getting to know these coaches. But it’s a great program Coach K has built at Duke, and it’s exciting to be able to continue that with coach Scheyer.”