Illinois has been a fertile recruiting ground for Duke, with coach Mike Krzyzewski and assistant Jon Scheyer highlighting the program.
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 after 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 last 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. He was set to visit Florida in September.
But Schutt committed to Scheyer and the Blue Devils on Tuesday morning before making a public announcement Thursday.
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 said, is when Duke and Scheyer beat Butler in 2010.
The link between Schutt and Scheyer was only enhanced during his official visit when he was able to sit down and talk to his future 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,” Schutt said. “There was a level of comfort I had with them that stood out to me.”
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.
He averaged 24 points a game last season and already has 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 in which 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 already has landed two five-star prospects in the Class of 2022 in 6-10 forward Kyle Filipowski from Massachusetts and 6-8 Dariq Whitehead from Montverde Academy in Florida.
Now he has tapped into Illinois to secure a top-100 talent in Schutt, who 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,” Schutt said. “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 in the last four decades, including Scheyer, who was an All-American at Duke.
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.
“It was a blessing to be recruited by all these great schools and have so many choices and getting to know these coaches,” Schutt said. “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.”