Looking Back: Reviewing the Players' Season

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Gilvydas Biruta #55 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights shoots over Justin Brownlee #32 of the St.Johns Red Storm during the second round of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madison Square Garden on March 9, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Note: this is from Dave.

Next year there's a whole new crew.  Seven freshman, eight new faces.  And so we cast our eyes forward toward another season of hope.

Or do we?

There's time to take one last look at the 2010-2011 Scarlet Knights and grade their performance on the court.

Check it out after the jump....

Seniors:

Jonathan Mitchell:  His season started slowly, but grew into the role of Rutgers' go to player.  He averaged just over 15 points per game in Big East play and 14 overall.  Whenever Rutgers needed a big shot, they looked to him, and in their wins, they got it.  He lead the team in three point shooting and was a leader off the court.  In his first year as a Scarlet Knight, Mitchell settled for the open three.  This year, he became more of a complete player, getting to the hoop more and getting to the free throw line.  This was most evident in the overtime win against Seton Hall during the Big East Tournament.  

James Beatty:  The point guard.  Beatty had a good season.  There was a clear difference in offensive play when he was on the court, as Beatty was able to push the ball up and get into the offensive court quicker.  He was the only other reliable shooter on the team and was incredible against South Florida, scoring 18 in the second half.  

Mike Coburn:  It's tough to grade Mike.  He clearly bought into all Mike Rice was selling and did everything he could to raise his level of play.  When he was good, he was very, very good.  His notable games were the Miami game, West Virginia, and the Syracuse game.  He had solid assists this year and will rank as one of the Scarlet Knights leaders in that category.  However, Mike wasn't athletic enough to hang in every game and too often he tried to take over when the team was down--but wasn't good enough to do that.  The only player on the team to be a 4 year Scarlet Knight.  

Robert Lumpkins:  A senior transfer, Lumpkins never seemed to really buy into Rice's system.  He was a liability on defense, and wanted to shoot as soon as he touched the ball.  When he got hot from 3-point land, he was impressive, especially against Pittsburgh and St. John's.  However, he was never fully on the team not on the bench for two stretches of games during the season.  Mike Rice had to decide to sit him and then bring him back.

Juniors:

Tyree Graham:  Expected to compete for time at the SG position and pick up the slack from Mike Rosario's transfer.  Sat out the season with a torn ACL.  

Sophomores: 

Dane Miller: Miller was one of the enigmas of the season.  Offensively, he was a work in progress.  His numbers did not improve.  There were times where his body language was that of frustration.  His best offensive game came on the road against Seton Hall, where he scored 17 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.  But defensively, Miller went from a liability to a stopper.  He was tasked with shutting down opposing team's best player and he was able to do that.  Against Jeremy Hazell in the first match-up, Miller made him work for every single point.  It was a joy watching him learn defense.  Hopefully his offense catches up.

Austin Johnson:  Johnson was another enigma.  A player who seemed content to be a role player, Johnson never really stood out.  His breakout game came against Providence at the RAC and he seemed to thrive in the open court when breaking the press.  Johnson showed potential, but needed to demand the ball more.  He need to go get the rebound.  The ability is there, it needs to be honed.

Freshmen:

Mike Poole:  Poole really made his mark early in the season.  He wanted to be a defensive stopper and worked hard at it.  Time and time again, he came up with a key steal for a lay-in.  He had a nice elbow jumper he could consistently hit and continued to improve as the season went on.  Unfortunately, he seemed to hit a late season wall.  Lots to look forward to next year.

Austin Carroll:  Carroll is the story of two seasons.  He's a gritty, smart player who during the Out of Conference schedule was beginning to turn into a decent defensive player.  The thing was--he came into school known as a shooter.  But, he hurt his knee in the first Villanova game and was forced to miss four weeks.  Once he returned, it was clear he was a step slow on the defensive end, but his offensive game began to come around.  Plenty of room to improve, it seems like Carroll was the work ethic and the desire to get better.

Gilvydas Biruta:  The toughest player on the court.  This PF was forced to play out of position all season at center and still make an impact.  Biruta would battle anyone who came at him while he was on defense and was willing to go hard to the hoop on offense.  He never backed down, never stopped hustling and was named to the Big East All Rookie Team.  On Mike'd Up--the NBC Sunday Night Sports show--Rice said Biruta embodied all the coach tried to teach.  He's one of the building blocks of this program.  And, once back to his natural position, he's only going to get better.

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