Earlier this month, I wrote about the "ifs" of Rutgers basketball. Well, this week, a big piece of the ifs came true when Jerome Seagears found his way back to Rutgers. Suddenly, a team that looked like it might be woefully undermanned started to fill out--and show potential--for the upcoming season.
Rutgers now has 11 scholarships spoken for. Two are for transfer players in Kerwin Okoro and former Pitt wing J.J. Moore. Okoro is expected to get a waiver for his transfer and be eligible right away. The next, however, is a bit tricker.
It is the case of JJ Moore. The wing was a top 150 recruit coming out of high school, but he never panned out completely for Jaime Dixon's Panthers (though he hit a few clutch 3s to hurt Rutgers in the past). Moore is expected to pursue a transfer waiver as well, though it is unclear whether or not he will get it.
But, if you're a Rutgers fan wanting to see Eddie Jordan succeed quickly, you should hope he does. Moore would really bring balance to the Scarlet Knights's line-up. Gone would be the days of hoping Dane Miller turned into a scorer. Gone would be the days of an undersized three guard starting line-up.
Moore is exactly what Rutgers needs. An experienced player who's been to the rigors of the old Big East and had some success. He's played in the NCAA tournament. While he never blew up into a superstar, he did fill an important role. And now, in an offense that Jordan promises will get out and run, he can become an integral part.
Rutgers' biggest problem next year is expected to be scoring. However, Seagears and Mack can shoot and have built chemistry with each other. Kadeem Jack was showing progress.
But for 3 years, the wing position has been a problem for the Scarlet Knights.
If Moore can get eligible, he can become the scorer the Knights need, filling in behind Mack and Seagers. Every position in the starting line-up would be a threat and defenses wouldn't be able to cheat out on the guards.
But Moore's eligibility looms even larger for Eddie Jordan. One thing Rutgers hasn't done since 2004 is post a winning record. There has always been the promise of success, but never a fulfillment of that promise. Each coach has come in and gotten shorter leashes from recruits. Gone are the days of five year turnarounds for Rutgers.
The quicker Jordan wins--and the balance that comes with Moore, along with the top heavy AAC can give Jordan a head's start--the easier his job gets. A winning season with a veteran team proves to recruits that Jordan can get the job done. And that makes recruiting easier.
Jordan won't just be selling a promise. A promise made by so many other Rutgers coaches.
Jordan will be selling the truth. And maybe some more top 100 players will start to listen.