I published this piece a year ago to the day after meeting Jon Scheiman, a former St. John’s Red Storm player, one whom I remember from 10 years ago while attending St. John’s basketball games.
Though he did not make the league last year, his story is very inspirational and meaningful and this fateful day ending up fostering a friendship that spans oceans, as Jon covers the NBA for The Sports Rabbi
and has a fantastic blog True Hoops NY!
So as the Summer League begins again here in Israel, which if you are here, check it out at Maccabi House in Rishon LeTzion (there is free admission & free ice cream!) I felt that this blog is only fitting as there may be other players just like Jon out there!
Sitting on metal bleachers last night at the Israel Basketball Super League Summer League, I saw a familiar figure walk the stairs right in front of me. I had seen this person before, not just on the court playing here in Israel, but years before.
I asked him his name. “Jon Scheiman,” he said. Jon Scheiman, I think to myself quickly. What college did he play ball at? “St. John’s,” he replies.
Yes, that Jon Scheiman. Jon Scheiman from New York City. Jon Scheiman who played for St. John’s and coach Mike Jarvis for four years. Yes, that St. John’s team that I had season tickets for all four years.
That Jon Scheiman who I cheered for when he stepped on the courts at Alumni Hall and of course at Madison Square Garden. The stage doesn’t get any bigger than MSG in NYC.
Jon Scheiman is in Israel to keep his dream alive.
The dream that many of us have as kids. To play professional sports.
Jon could easily give up the dream and go into the working world in a lab after spending the past seven years at New York University, NYU, obtaining a Ph.D. in Bio Medical Science at their renowned Medical School.
After just defending his thesis this past May, Jon could put the dream behind him and go out into his professional life. But Jon wants that to wait. His clock is ticking, and at 28 years old, the 6”1, 178 lbs guard is coming to Israel on his own ticket to try and play professional ball, and live the dream.
Jon Scheiman played at St. Johns’ from 1999-2003 as a walk on after a spectacular charity event that he played for his Manhattan High School Laguardia. Dreaming of playing college basketball he had his opportunity right in his hometown.
St. John’s had no more athletic scholarships available, but Jon inquired if there happened to be any academic ones. His grades were good enough to earn him a scholarship on the academic side and off he went into the world of basketball and biology.
Jon, while diligently working on his undergraduate degree, played hard, practiced harder and had the privilege to be on some amazing St. John’s squads that featured future NBA and Euroleague players.
How about the names, Marcus Hatten, Bootsy Thorton, Omar Cook, Erik Barkley & Lavor Postell. Jon played with all of them.
Not only did he play with them, he was on the 2000 Big East Champion St. John’s that went onto to be the #2 seed in the West bracket of the NCAA tournament.
You can also add an NIT Championship over Georgetown in 2003 to his resume. Not bad for a young Jewish kid, St. John’s walk on.
Jon then went onto NYU but continued to play in various leagues including the Reebox Sports Club Summer Leagues. Not only was he physically strong and stood his ground against terrific talents he was mentally strong and mature well beyond his years.
With that mental toughness, Jon knows how to move with the ball, but also without it. Playing tenacious defense is always an important aspect of his game and his ball handling skills are still second to none.
What Jon wants now is that chance to live the dream. Play professional basketball in Israel. Be it on a first or second division team; that is what drives Jon.
That is his goal.
That is why he is here.
Work can wait. Basketball can not.
Here’s hoping Jon can keep his dream alive!