From this spring, when I also picked the Scarlet Knights to finish last…
Rutgers added two more players after the spring preview was completed, and both seem likely to play a rotation role. 6’7″ JUCO forward Deshawn Freeman came on board in late April. He averaged 19.2 ppg and better than 9 boards per game for Hutchinson JC, historically a high level JUCO program. They also added 6’4″ guard Omari Grier as a 5th year transfer from Bradley, where he averaged 7.9 ppg on 38/32/79% shooting. I would expect both guys to play a lot and Freeman should be a starter.
They also lost then-commited forward Kejuan Johnson. Johnson was considered to be a solid prospect but Freeman should be able to give them much more in the near term, as he’s more experienced and more physically ready to go.
Rutgers has also done some shuffling of Eddie Jordan’s staff and has implemented a new offensive system. They’re moving away from the Princeton approach Jordan has favored to a style which puts more of an emphasis on size, which makes some sense because the Scarlet Knights actually have a good deal more of that than they do multi dimensional players who would thrive in a passing and movement game. There’s also some talk about using some pressure but I always believe that when I see it in this league.
Not much has changed here. The addition of two more experienced players helps but neither appears likely to be a massive game changer for Rutgers. This is a program where you have to take a long view. Jordan just landed his first marquee recruit in freshman Corey Sanders and he has another 4 star on the way next year in guard Kwe Parker. This was a major, major rebuilding job and realistically, it’s going to take another couple of recruiting classes before Jordan can get this team into a spot where they can think seriously about post season berths or even crawling out of the Big Ten basement. I think a successful year would be marked by more competitive games overall, stealing a win or two people don’t see coming, and showing enough potential from young guys to suggest that brighter days are ahead.