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Rutgers Basketball: Looking at the New Assistants

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Eddie Jordan made the hirings official last week. Now with the live period upon us, what does each new assistant bring to the table? Hint: It's not all about recruiting.

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Joe Murphy

Last week, Rutgers sent out a press release announcing Eddie Jordan had hired Greg "Shoes" Vetrone and Mike O'Koren to fill the assistant spots vacated by the fired David Cox and Kyle Triggs (whose contract wasn't renewed).

So, what do each of them bring to the table?

Vetrone is here to recruit.  Between his days working with The Hoop Group to his ties to the Canarias Basketball Academy, Vetrone has a variety of contacts and relationships he can cultivate and use to help Jordan bring in talent.  He's also here to help Jordan run a college basketball program.  While Vetrone wasn't very good at FDU when he was the head coach, he does bring college head coaching experience to the table.  This can help Jordan deal with the day to day issues of being a college coach and help acclimate Jordan to the job.  With luck, he and hold over Van Macon can work their magic and get talent interested in the Scarlet Knights again.

Plus, he also has a very cool nickname.

O'Koren is a bit more complicated.  The coach has spent most of his career in the NBA, as Eddie Jordan's right hand man.  He is not here to recruit.  O'Koren is on campus to develop the players that are already here, scout, and offer X's and O's insight. Keep an eye on how the big men on the team develop this season, mainly Kadeem Jack.  Assistant coaches do have to coach too, and O'Koren is considered one of the better X's and O's guys out there.

Plus, as Jerry Carino reports, he appears to be a really good guy.  O'Koren will help with chemistry on the staff and amongst the team and that is a really underrated storyline of this year's Scarlet Knights.

That's not to say O'Koren won't or can't recruit.  No, O'Koren has some ties himself.  A native of Hudson County, O'Koren should bring respect when he talks to the coaches of those high schools.  And having a high school head coach is just the beginning of building relationships.  O'Koren also knows NJ talent, as he spent the last two years doing color commentary for NJ high school basketball games.  While I wouldn't expect O'Koren to bring in top flight talent immediately, I also wouldn't rule it out either.

Book Richardson wasn't walking through the RAC locker room door.  That wasn't the situation Rutgers was in.  But for this particular situation, Eddie Jordan made two very good hires.

Now, as the live recruiting period begins, it'll be interesting to see what names leak out and who draws the most Rutgers interest going forward.

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