Kadeem Jack is coming to Rutgers a little early.
As mentioned a few months ago, Rutgers star 2011 recruit left his prep school and would be reporting to RU in December. The report then was that he'd redshirt the second half of the season and be ready to go in the fall.
But as time has gone on, the Rutgers basketball team has looked much better in games, the rumors started to come out. Mike Rice has denied them, but after a message board report on a Court Club meeting, words persist that Jack might play this year. He reports and begins practicing with the team on December 26.
There are pros and cons to this idea.
What are they? Find out after the jump...
Jack would add a much needed player to the front line. With only Austin Johnson and Gilvydas Biruta at center, and Jonathan Mitchell and Robert Lumpkins at PF, the team could use one more player downlow to deal with the gauntlet that is the Big East.
The player would be thrown to the wolves and will get some much needed experience for a team that will be woefully inexperienced next season. If Jack progresses nicely, he'd be able to start next year.
It would clear up some of the scholarship problems. Instead of having 3 graduates in 2014 and 7 in 2015, the classes will be a bit more balanced at 4 and 6.
If Jack is better than advertised, he could be the difference between a 14 win team and a 17 win team.
You're throwing Jack to the wolves. A player who went prep in order to get some more experience will, most likely, not be able to play major minutes against UNC and the Big East.
He won't know the systems. Jack hasn't played under Rice yet. He still has to learn a complicated defensive system. He's going to have to adjust to the speed of college ball.
If Jack becomes a project, starting him this year could be the difference between a 14 win team or a 12 win team. He may give up easy baskets.
He will play on a middling-to bad team this year, and lose out an opportunity for an extra special season 4 years from now when the "Magnificent Seven" class are all seniors.
Listen, the real issue with the team this year is depth. They play hard, but they are two deep at the forward positions. However the team only has four guard. If word got out that Tyree Graham were healthy and would be able to play in the Big East season, it'd be a different story. The combination of Graham and Jack could be a difference maker. But odds are RU's guards are going to get worn down this year, and that will probably lead to some bad losses down the stretch, with or without Jack. You can't win in college basketball without guards.
It's a better idea to bring Jack along slowly. Let him adjust to college life, Mike Rice practices, and strength and conditioning. They he could come in next year as almost a sophomore and really be able to help the team. Really be able to start being the face of the program. While there will be rough moments next year with the team because they are young, a healthy Graham and more mature Jack will help the team be even better.
Redshirt Jack now. Let him learn.
Play him next season.