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Rutgers Basketball Preview: The Newbies

A ton of roster overhaul has led to inexperience on the Scarlet Knights team. Will they crack the rotation? Three of them will have to.

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On Saturday afternoon, Rutgers fans can get their first look at Eddie Jordan's second year squad.  While Myles Mack and (the injured) Kadeem Jack are known players, there are four new players who will crack Jordan's rotation and two others who are practicing with the team.

Bishop Daniels is a JUCO who we covered when talking about the juniors, but the rest?

The freshmen are an interesting trio.  While Jordan's first recruiting class isn't going to break records, it is a solid one with players who can and should bring some great moments back to the RAC--this season and beyond.

DJ Foreman is probably the highest regarded recruit coming to the banks this season.  Standing at 6'8", Foreman shocked everyone when he committed to Rutgers--especially when the word was he'd caught Coach Cal and Kentucky's eye.  Foreman is a back to the basketball player who will fill in for Jack on Saturday against Baruch and give Kadeem some meaningful minutes to rest on the bench.  While word has it that Foreman has to work on his shooting, he can apparently jump out of the gym and be a force at the rim and on the boards.  If Foreman can attack the paint with his athleticism and draw fouls, he will be a weapon on the offensive end this season.  And, on the defensive end, he has to rebound with tenacity in order to end defensive possessions without giving the opposition a second chance.  Foreman has a chance to develop into something special, and that starts with a solid freshman campaign.

Mike Williams will be the first guard off the bench.  He is the only scholarship guard behind Mack and Daniels.  Williams comes from NYC, which means he'll play with a chip on his shoulder.  Once known as the best shooter in NYC during his senior year, Williams can bring that range to the RAC and make defenses pay.  While Daniels isn't known to be a shooter, if Williams can pair with Mack at times, there will be two deep weapons keeping the opposition honest.  Reportedly, Williams is a bit undersized at 6'2", but can still get in the paint and rebound.  During Media Day, Jack raved about his scrappiness.  Last season this team didn't seem to want to grind it out, if Williams can add some grit to the court, he will be a beloved player.  And, if he gets hot from beyond the arc, watch out RAC faithful.  He might make it rain.

Shaquille Doorson is a big man.  Not just positionally, but literally.  He is 6'11" and 275 pounds.  The man is going to take up room in the paint.  After Greg "SHOES" Vetrone stole him from Pittsburgh (or Pittsburgh handed the kid over, or had scholarship issues or... I don't know the real story, so I'm going to create the legend of SHOES), Doorson landed here with a thud.  Jordan says Shaq tries to dunk everything and really rattles the rims.  That kind of player can intimidate even the best front courts from attacking the rim.  If Doorson can stay out of foul trouble, he might develop into a starter sooner than one would expect.  Much like Foreman, Doorson need to rebound every chance he gets and keep the offense of the other team on their heels.  Doorson could turn into an important cog on this team.

Ryan Johnson and Ibrahima Diallo will be missed this year.  Both are only partially eligible this season, and can practice, but can't play with the team.  Jordan, early in the practice season, raved about Diallo calling him one of the top five players on the team at that time.  Long and wiry, Diallo is a project big man who can only learn this year.  Knowing the offense will help him come in next year and be a force.  The same goes for Johnson, though the team could really use him this season as well, even if only for depth.  Johnson has the reputation as a scorer and-like Williams-can apparently really shoot the ball.  He needs to add weight, and that should come this year.  Look for him next year to play both guard and wing forward, adding some scoring depth to the team.

Rutgers has an interesting--if short--roster this year.  Chemistry is better, and there are three seniors who want nothing more but to win.  Often and historically, that leads to interesting years on the banks.  Despite Jeff Goodman reporting that Rutgers got beat by Boston College in a secret scrimmage, the real games start on Saturday.  If Rutgers can improve their defense and run Jordan's system well, they can surprise some teams.

Last season, in their pre-season battle, it was clear defense was going to be an issue.  Their opponents were able to beat  the press easily, and though Rutgers won handily, there were moments where fans were worried.  Hopefully, this year--even without Jack (who hopes to be back for GW)--Rutgers won't make their fans sweat in a preseason game.  Get in, run your sets, win and come out healthy.

Do that and then strap in for another basketball season at Rutgers.


Meanwhile, in recruiting news:

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