Jaden Schutt, in some respects, was perhaps destined to play at Duke.
Growing up, his dad Jeff would pull tapes of former Duke star JJ Redick. Jaden watched old clips in honing his textbook shooting form.
The first NCAA Tournament championship game Schutt remembers watching was Duke’s win over Butler in 2010, when coach-in-waiting Jon Scheyer was an All-American guard.
Schutt’s even had a blue Duke jersey hanging in his closet “for the longest time.”
“It’s definitely been a goal of mine to play for them since I was growing up,” Schutt said. “It’s a dream come true.”
Schutt realized that dream this week.
The Yorkville Christian senior, the 2021 Record Newspapers Player of the Year and perhaps the best player in Illinois’ senior class, has made his verbal commitment to Duke. Schutt committed to Scheyer and the Blue Devils on Tuesday morning, and announced the decision on Twitter Thursday.
Schutt, a four-star prospect, picked Duke from 20 offers including Michigan State, Illinois and Florida. The 6-foot-5 guard received a scholarship offer from five-time national champion Duke in July and made his decision after making an official visit to the Durham, N.C. campus over the weekend.
“It was good to talk to the coaches. They made me feel like a priority and were very genuine,” Schutt said. “The vision they have for me is the same vision I have for myself. There is a lot of history down there obviously and the people down there are super nice.”
Schutt averaged 26.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.6 steals as a junior, while shooting 40.3% from the 3-point line and 84% on free throws for the No. 1-ranked team in Class 1A.
Rated among the top four players in Illinois’ Class of 2022, Schutt saw his recruitment soar in the summer of 2020 with the likes of Michigan State, Illinois, Ohio State and Iowa offering. Duke – which has made 12 Final Four appearances in current head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s 40-year career there – joined that list in July after Schutt’s impressive performance at the Under Armour circuit event in Atlanta while playing with the Illinois Wolves AAU team.
Schutt, Duke’s third commit from the Class of 2022, has seen his standing nationally rise this year. He is the No. 47 player nationally in ESPN’s Top 100, No. 82 by Rivals.com and No. 108 by 247Sports.
“The way Duke likes to play is the way I like to play – play loose, play with confidence, play free,” Schutt said. “That’s how they let their players play. They have a lot of great shooters and a lot of great players, and they let their guys play loose.”
Schutt’s game, with his shooting and size, in many ways compares favorably to his future coach Scheyer, another in the long line of Illinois natives to play for Duke. Scheyer was a household name in Illinois basketball and McDonald’s All-American from Glenbrook North.
The sweet-shooting Schutt has already topped 1,400 points over his three years at Yorkville Christian, with 217 career 3-pointers. As a sophomore, he made 17 3-pointers in a game, a state record.
Schutt’s made a connection with Scheyer throughout the process since the offer came, and that relationship was further nurtured in his official visit to Duke.
“He’s from the same area as I am, Chicago area, you find a lot of similarities,” Schutt said. “He played the same position as me, went to the same college. Obviously he had a lot of success there and is a great resource to ask questions. I feel like we bonded well.”