Junior Etou, the final piece of Eddie Jordan's 2013-14 puzzle, has been suspended by the NCAA per Brendan Prunty.
Etou, who'd been cleared academically and is practicing with the team, but somehow violated his amateur status. The Daily Targum reported that Etou received "impermissible benefits from a third party overseas."
All in all, this is not a big hit for Rutgers. While it would have been nice to get Etou time against some lesser opponents, Jerry Carino speculates that Etou can still practice. Etou will not be able to play until the 7th game of the season--which could be against Arizona at Madison Square Garden, should the Knight advance that far. Otherwise, it will be at the RAC in an NIT consolation game.
Going into this season--after Jordan had finished trying to put this team together--Rutgers had four major questions: Would Jerome Seagears come back from Auburn and be eligible? Would J.J. Moore and Kerwin Okoro receive hardship transfer waivers? And would Etou be eligible to play?
Basically, despite some hiccups, Rutgers went four for four. They are now fielding a talented, veteran team with some depth. I agree with what I saw Carino tweet earlier: In Etou's absence, it is likely that Malick Kone will receive more playing time, and Moore will also back-up at power forward as well. Kone, who almost transferred, but stayed when he met Jordan, has a chance to step up and show what he can do.
By the time conference play rolls around, this will be all but forgotten. Etou may end up a step or two behind, but in the long run, this was a good first off-season... for Eddie Jordan at least.
Rutgers plays Florida A&M tonight at 7:30 at the RAC. It will also be aired on ESPN3.