First reported by Scout.com and expanded on by Adam Zagoria, one of the signature recruits of Mike Rice's blockbuster recruiting class has left his prep school. Kadeem Jack is a power forward, and is expected to contribute to the team as soon as he shows up on campus.
More on this story, and the questions it raises, after the jump...Both stories speculate that Jack may enroll at Rutgers as soon as January. He's always been eligible, and only went to South Kent Prep to work on his game. So, the question arises, what happens if Jack does show up in January.
Does Jack play immediately? If he does play, he'll be brought right into the fire. Not only will he have to learn Rice's system, he'll have to contribute in one of the toughest leagues in the country. Even the best big men have needed time to adjust to the league in their freshman year. He would be eaten alive, and you'd have to live with the mistakes he'll make when he plays. Fouls, missed defensive assignments, and he'd probably be pushed around. However, he is a solid talent, and some rankings have him as a top 50 recruit. He would immediately sure up a thin front court rotation, that needs another player or two. Also, if you let him take his lumps this year, Jack would be more ready to contribute as a starter next season.
Do you bring Jack into practice, but redshirt him for half the year? Redshirting him, would allow him to practice with the team and give him a leg up in practice next year. He'd know Rice's system, and be half a year ahead of the rest of the recruits coming in. It would almost definitely give him a starter's role, and bring two experienced players into the fold next year--along with injured guard Tyree Graham. That would bring some balance to the roster, with six experienced players and six without experience. But even better, Jack would still have four years of eligibility remaining, being around when this recruiting class is seniors, and hopefully ready to make a big run.
My Take: While it is tempting to throw such a talent into the fire, this team probably won't be as successful as most would like this year--with or without Jack. Redshirting him would be ideal (assuming Jack agrees) and would give him a leg up to help the team next year, when you hope the program really starts to move forward.
Of course, if Jack decides to find another prep school, and not show up on campus until next year, this article is moot.
What do you think?