Rutgers Basketball '11: The Rest of the Freshman

Unfortunately, with the season only a day away, and having a computer issues all week, I won't be able to do an individual post for each of the remaining new players. 

However, all the five players I haven't covered yet will be important to this team this year... So--after the jump--check out my thoughts on the remaining members of the freshman class.

Eli CarterRecruited as a replacement after Mike Taylor de-committed, he could be the sleeper of the class.  And by sleeper, I mean, best offensive weapon.  He has worked himself into a starting role, per Jerry Carino.  That role was expected to go to Mike Poole, but Carter appears to be way more explosive.  Rice has given him the greenlight to shoot, and that was evident in last Sunday's pre-season game.  Carter lead the team in shots and scoring in that game, and I wouldn't be surprised if he leads the team in scoring this year.  Carter reminds me of a young Jeremy Hazell in that way that, if he gets hot, you want to get him the ball.  A player that can hit from anywhere on the court, he is going to be extremely exciting to watch all year.

Malick Kone:  A player recruited to be a small forward and a defensive stopper, Kone could turn out to be more that that.  With an injury to Kadeem Jack, Kone found himself player some power forward last Sunday, after he was moved there in practice only days before.  All he did was find himself second on the team in scoring.  He's only 6'5" but has the wingspan to player the power role, at least in non-conference play.  Rice thinks he can turn Kone into a defensive stud, so it'll be interesting to watch his growth this season.  Keep an eye on him.

Derrick RandallMike Rice's first recruit of the 2011 class, this power forward/center also will benefit in terms of playing time with Jack out.  He was limited with a virus on Sunday, but showed an impressive ability to haul in offensive rebounds and a lot of potential to score on putbacks.  As a lefty, he's going to cause match-up problems for the defense when he improves on the offensive end.  Big enough and strong enough to defend in the Big East, Randall could surprise this year.  Until January rolls around, he's going to get the opportunity to prove himself. 

Greg Lewis:  Another power forward/center, Lewis is long and athletic.  He showed a lot of potential to run the floor and some considerable strength.  Throughout this season, he's going to add a lot to what's expected to be the most athletic front court Rutgers has had in years.  However, he's going to have to learn Rice's defense better.  During the pre-season game, he seemed confused on the defensive end at times.  Rice wants him to communicate more- and doi it with confidence.  When he does that, you will likely see a different player.  As with most big men, he has a lot of room to develop.

Kadeem Jack:  The crown jewel of the recruiting class, he is hobbled at least until mid-January with a broken foot.  This is very unfortunate, because by all accounts, he was starting to get it.  Rice has said on several occasions that he ran the floor like a guard and was going to be huge on the defensive end, hauling in rebounds and blocking shots.  While he wasn't going to go in and score 20 night in and night out, he was going to be one of the most important cogs on the team, pushing Austin Johnson for a starting role.  Assuming he recovers on time, he will be brought back as soon as he's ready--in the middle of the Big East season.  He's going to be asked to be an energy guy and anchor the full court press Rice wants to unveil this season.  What this will hinder, however, is his improvement over the course of the season, because Carino says he can't work out during this injury.  It will be interesting to see how well he plays when he returns to the court.

BONUS

Wally JudgeThe transfer from Kansas State can't play this year.  He has to sit out, but don't be surprised if he becomes one of the most important players on this team.  He will be the one to push the freshman power forwards in practice, making them better and smarter on both ends of the court.  Judge could be one of the best players ever to play at Rutgers if he focuses, and if he brings it during practice this year, it will pay dividends.  He is a prototypical Big East player, and he will make the team better this year AND next year.

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