For the last few seasons, Rutgers basketball has been the bodybag of the AAC and Big Ten Conferences. The Scarlet Knights have not only failed to record wins on a consistent basis, but the team also struggled to even be competitive against bad opponents.
Head coach Eddie Jordan was fired as a result of those struggles, and now it’s up to Steve Pikiell to move the program toward its next chapter. Things will likely be rough this season considering the sheer lack of talent on the roster, but if things can go right on the recruiting trail, Rutgers could improve in the long run.
In an effort to get ahead of this upcoming recruiting cycle for Rutgers, here’s a look at how the program has recruited over the past few years and what the Scarlet Knights need to add in 2017 in order to put together a quality class.
As any Big Ten fan knows, the past few seasons have not been kind to Rutgers. The team posted a dreadful 29-68 (.299) overall record and an 8-46 (.148) performance in Big Ten play. With those kind of results, it’s generally hard to go on the recruiting trail and land major talent.
However, even with those results, Rutgers actually did better than one might expect. The team landed some decent three-star recruits in 2014 and hauled in a potential program-changer in four-star guard Corey Sanders. The 2016 class was a step back and only finished No. 95 nationally, but generally weak recruiting hasn’t been nearly as bad as RU’s results on the court.
Primary 2017 Recruiting Needs
Although Rutgers is set to graduate only one senior next offseason, one look at the roster and depth chart foretells some major roster attrition on the horizon. Not only is point guard Corey Sanders a potential early NBA Draft declarant next spring, but given general transfer rates, one would have to expect at least one or two other players to depart.
There probably isn’t a clear position of need for Rutgers given the general weakness of the roster, but if there’s one area, it’s the backcourt. Sanders is a potential offseason departure, and Rutgers could desperately use more guard depth. Sanders is the team’s best player, and the lack of a potential replacement could spell major issues.
2017 Recruiting To Date
At the time of publication, Rutgers has one commitment in its 2017 recruiting class and has issued 17 offers to 2017 prospects. That commitment comes from 6-foot-2 combo guard Geo Baker, who comes out of Andover, New Hampshire.
Rutgers has missed out on some of its biggest 2017 targets, such as guard Jose Alvarado, but it still remains involved with some key players. In particular, this list includes three-star big men Makhtar Gueye and Bul Ajang and under-the-radar prospects such as Chris Efretuei out of New York. None of these should be considered locks, but all could be valuable additions to the Rutgers roster.
Missing out on Alvarado was a big hit, but if Rutgers can keep Baker in the fold and pick up another commitment or two in the coming months, the situation could acquire a positive trajectory for the Scarlet Knights.