So, now that the shock of a 15 game losing streak to close out the season has worn off, now that Scarlet Knight stalwarts Kadeem Jack and Myles Mack are gone, now that we've all had time to catch our breath after scintillating opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament--what can Rutgers do to improve next year?
Facilities: Yes, this is the big one. Whether for Eddie Jordan or whomever follows him, a facilities plan has to be put in place. Even Governor Chris Christie agrees.
If Rutgers is in the Big Ten and they want to be competitive in the Big Ten, those are the things they're going to have to do.
That quote from Christie seems to tacitly allow Rutgers to spend. He's flatly put the ball into Robert Barchi and Julie Hermann's court, and now it's up to them to move forward. Earlier in his conversation on Ask the Governor, his radio show, Christie said Rutgers hadn't yet asked for money for facilities.
Rutgers needs to make this happen, and with luck, some form of blueprint will end up in Jordan's hand soon and he can start selling real facilities. Because without facilities, this was how Gary Waters had to sell recruits.
An Impact Player: Currently, Rutgers has one open scholarship. With that scholarship, Rutgers has to find a player who can score. They already have a stud guard in Corey Sanders coming into play. Now they have to find someone who can compliment him. Preferably someone who can knock down the three point shot. Whether that's JUCO forward Deshawn Freeman or an immediately eligible graduate transfer, it's on Jordan, SHOES, and the rest of the crew to track that player down.
Run Your Offense: It seemed that for much of this season Eddie Jordan didn't truly run the offense he wanted to run. When he did, it worked (see Clemson and Vanderbilt games). But late in the season, he focused more on Jack and Mack and pick and rolls. That should change now. The only player on this team who isn't a Jordan recruit will be Greg Lewis. This is Jordan's team, he has to run it the way he wants to. No more molding to fit in two guys who, while great players, don't seem to fit what you want to do. Plus, how else will Sanders learn it, if you don't run it?
Continue to Improve the Defense: Despite not exactly passing the eye test, Rutgers defense did improve drastically from Jordan's first season. This has to continue its upward trend. Late in the year, Rutgers broke out a press that really caused some havoc on teams it shouldn't have. It caused a surprised Maryland to continually turn the ball over while Rutgers made their run into a close game. If Jordan's team can press even more next year, that can help speed up the offense and get some very easy baskets. Plus, close outs on three pointers have to be better, in order to stay in the game.
Limit Transfers: Nearly every team has a transfer or two in the off-season. Jordan needs to keep players like Lewis and Junior Etou around. Plus, the young guys like DJ Foreman, Mike Williams and Shaquille Doorson are a nice foundation and they need to stick in Piscataway and develop. Let's hope no one leaves.
Rutgers needs to make a jump next year. The OOC can't be a disaster and they can't get embarrassed in conference. That may be a tall order, but Jordan needs to show something in year 3. And he has to do it his way.
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