The highlight of the upcoming season for a lot of the fans is this: the incoming freshman. Ranked by some of the recruiting experts as a top 15 recruiting class and Rutgers' best recruiting class ever, the freshman are expected to be the ones to finally change the Scarlet Knights' basketball fortunes.
Front and center in that class is Myles Mack, a diminutive point guard, who played for Bob Hurley's St. Anthony squad last year. Mack will be one of two freshman filing the most important position on the floor.
What does he need to do to be successful?
Find out after the jump...Mack was one of the most important gets in Rice's 2nd recruiting class. The small guard needs to control the offense from day 1. Only 5'9", it's likely that Mack is going to be towered over by Big East defenses. At the same time, it was clear in the JSBL that Mack has the speed and athleticism to blow past those bigger guards. The key will be realizing what it takes to win in the Big East.
And that's to play within yourself. In high school, Mack was better than nearly everybody. He was faster, he could jump higher, and shooting over defenses. He's not going to be able to do that now. He has to play smart. Make the extra pass. Drive to the hoop and invite contact. Shoot the 3 when he's open.
Mack has range. There's no doubt about that. He can hit the 3, and that alone is going to help improve Rutgers offense. Mack will get his points and get his shots. But he has to run the pick and roll offense too. He has to give the ball up to his teammates and make everyone better around him.
That's what's going to take time.
In the Big East, the game moves faster. Mack is going to not only have to make quick decisions, but smart decisions as well. He can't get frustrated.
Mack is going to get pushed around early in his career. Freshman rarely get foul calls, so expect to see him get mugged early and often this year. He's going to have to keep his emotions in check, and use over aggressive defenses to his advantage. Slip by the players who lunge at him and take it to the hole.
It's also going to be interesting to see Mack adjust to playing Big East defense. His size and speed should allow him to get a lot of steals that will lead to breakaways. But in Rice's switch defense system, there will be times that Mack will have to harass players a lot bigger then him. Another learning curve, Mack'll have to deal with.
And that learning curve will be the driving force around all of the freshman this year.