Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season. We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are turning to alum and former NBA head coach Eddie Jordan in hopes of helping turn around a program that has a massive black cloud hanging over it after the whole Mike Rice situation. Rutgers lost several players to transfer this off-season and figures to struggle in their lone year in the American Athletic Conference before heading to the Big Ten.
RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS
Last Season: 13th, 5-13 in Big East, 15-16 overall
Predicted AAC Finish: 9th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Wally Judge (Sr)/Greg Lewis (So)
PF: Kadeem Jack (Jr)/Junior Etou (Fr)
G/F: Malick Kone (Jr)/Craig Brown (Jr)
G: Jerome Seagers (Jr)
PG: Myles Mack (Jr)/D’Von Campbell (Jr)
Gone: F-Dane Miller, C-Austin Johnson, G-Eli Carter (transfer-Florida), SG-Mike Poole (transfer-Iona), G/F-Vincent Garrett (transfer-Green Bay), F/C-Derrick Randall (transfer-Pitt)
With all of the player departures following Rice’s dismissal, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will enter the season with only nine scholarship players, possibly ten if Pitt transfer J.J. Moore gets a waiver from the NCAA and becomes immediately eligible.
Rutgers lost leading scorer Eli Carter who transferred to Florida and nearly Jerome Seagers as well before he changed his mind about leaving for Auburn and decided to stay at Rutgers. Seagers and Myles Mack will be relied upon heavily during their junior years. They form an undersized backcourt but are interchangeable with each capable of running the point of playing off the ball. Junior college transfer D’Von Campbell will be the lone backup guard.
Malick Kone is expected to see a larger role on the wing after only playing about ten minutes per game last year. He will pushed by JUCO transfer Craig Brown but if Moore is able to play right away, expect the former Pitt Panther to take over the starting small forward spot.
Up-front, Wally Judge will look to breakout after what has been an underwhelming and disappointing college career thus far. He was highly-touted coming out of high school but just hasn’t been able to put it all together yet. Kadeem Jack figures to start alongside Judge in the frontcourt and is another guy who hasn’t reached quite lived up to the hype. Greg Lewis missed all of last season due to a knee injury and needs to stay healthy since freshman Junior Etou is the only other frontcourt option and he stands just 6-7.
Jordan added Iowa State transfer Nkereuwen Okoro this summer as well. The former Cyclone is a versatile wing who must sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules.
If there is a glimmer of hope for Rutgers this year, it is that the AAC is not nearly as competitive as the Big East has been. Still, the Scarlet Knights are too short handed this year to be a factor in their temporary home.
Player to Watch: Myles Mack
The past two seasons, it has been the Carter and Mack show for Rutgers. With Carter leaving the program, Mack takes on the responsibility of becoming the guy. The home state kid can stroke it from deep and has done a good job of not forcing the issue with his shot selection but Rutgers will need him to be more selfish as a scorer this year.
Key Non-Conference Games:
12/8 vs. Seton Hall
OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#95 Seton Hall
#97 George Mason
#99 Penn State
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#108 Virginia Tech
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)