#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights: College Basketball 111 in 111


rutgers dance team

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 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.

Will the Rutgers Scarlet Knight ever turn the corner as a basketball program?  We’re still waiting for that day as it has now been 11 years since Rutgers has finished with a winning record in the Big East Conference.  Mike Rice has quality talent on his roster but the maturation of his young guards and arrival of one key transfer will be the difference between another below five hundred finish or an opportunity to take a step forward.

Last Season: T-11th, 6-12 in Big East, 14-18 overall
Predicted Big East Finish: 12th

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Wally Judge (Jr)/Austin Johnson (Sr)/Derrick Randall (So)
F: Dane Miller (Sr)/Kadeem Jack (So)/Greg Lewis (So)
SG: Jerome Seagears (So)/Malick Kone (So)/Vincent Garrett (Jr)
G: Myles Mack (So)/Mike Poole (Jr)
PG: Eli Carter (So)

Gone: C-Gilvydas Burita (transfer-Rhode Island), PG-Tyree Graham (transfer-UNC-Wilmington), SG-Austin Carroll (transfer-American)

2012-2013 Outlook:
As freshmen Eli Carter, Myles Mack, and Jerome Seagears added some sorely needed playmakers on the Scarlet Knight roster.  That trio combined to average more than 31 points per game ultimately becoming the focal point of the offense.  They showed promise and signs of being able to help get the program heading in the right direction but also looked like freshmen at times.  All three are fairly interchangeable being able to run the point or play off the ball which gives Rutgers the option to use a three-guard look.  How that threesome develops from last season will go a long way in the outcome of this team’s success.

Rice also returns a good amount of talent on the wing led by versatile forward Dane Miller.  The arrival of the three young guards caused Miller’s offensive production to dip but he still made his impact felt with his versatility on the defensive end and on the glass.  Mike Poole and Malick Kone were valuable role players a year ago and will re-assume that responsibility again this year with JUCO transfer Vincent Garrett pushes to steal some of their minutes.

Up-front, the Scarlet Knights suffered a blow when skilled center Gilvydas Burita decided to transfer to Rhode Island.  With bad news comes good news though as Kansas State transfer Wally Judge becomes eligible this season.  He never found his niche with the Wildcats but brings plenty of strength and athleticism inside.

Austin Johnson and Derrick Randall were decent contributors a year ago and add more toughness in the paint.  Neither Kadeem Jack nor Greg Lewis were able to regularly crack the rotation in their first year with the team but both guys are capable of performing at a higher level and should be anxious to prove that this year.

This is without question the deepest and most talented team Rice has coached since arriving at Rutgers.  However, they are still probably a year away from becoming a true threat to compete for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.  If Judge can make his presence felt right away and the trio of guards shows steady progress though, the Scarlet Knights could surprise some folks out East.

Player to Watch: Wally Judge
The 6’9 power forward was considered one of the elite recruits in the 2009 class but never came close to reaching his potential in his two years at Kansas State under Frank Martin.  A change of scenary was sorely needed and that’s what Judge gets this year at Rutgers.  He is explosive at the rim, has decent touch with his mid-range game, and also brings solid strength and physicality inside.  Judge is certainly the x-factor for the Scarlet Knights this season as a breakout season could propel the team into the upper half of the Big East.

Key Non-Conference Games:
12/1 at Ole Miss (Big East/SEC Challenge)
12/8 vs. Iona (at MSG)
12/11 vs. George Washington
12/16 vs. UAB

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

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.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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