These are desperate times for Eddie Jordan and company.
As I wrote about earlier this week, Eddie Jordan is chasing three players to fill two open scholarships. And his top targets are being chased by some big name schools. Or, big time coaches.
Yesterday, Adam Zagoria tweeted that Danny Hurley came to watch JUCO power forward Deshawn Freeman workout (or play, not sure). Freeman is a pure scorer, and Jordan's right hand man Greg SHOES Vetrone has been on him since almost day 1. Freeman, however, has yet to commit, but at the same time Rutgers only seemed to be competing with Tulsa for his talents. News that Hurley was keeping an eye on Freeman upped the ante.
Meanwhile, the next target Malik Ellison, has a pretty impressive offer list--namely South Carolina, Minnesota, Temple and Wake Forest. The 3 star guard will make an impact where ever he lands, and right now the 247 website is predicting it will be Minnesota. However, Ellison's lead recruiter for the Golden Gophers, Dan McHale, just left to take a head coaching job.
That Rutgers is in the mix with two players that other schools think can make a difference is impressive and lends optimism to Jordan's ability to eye-up talent that will help the Scarlet Knights next season. However, that on its own is not enough.
Eddie Jordan is heading into his third year as head coach, and the argument can be made that it is his most pivotal. Not only does Jordan have to really start hitting the recruiting trail for 2016 (and he's after some top kids like guards Kwe Parker and Temple Gibbs), but he also has to take a step forward on the court. And the roster, as currently built, is unlikely to do that.
So, what needs to change?
Essentially, Eddie Jordan needs a win. On the recruiting trail. This spring.
Jordan needs to beat Danny Hurley for Deshawn Freeman. He has to win over Malik Ellison. It's time for Jordan to win a recruiting battle and start bringing in some offensive talent that can play the game the way the coach wants to. Because Freeman and Ellison can also help on the defensive end, using their length to press the heck out of the opposition.
As bad as it has been (at times) on the court for Rutgers, there have been moments of Eddie Jordan beauty. The Wisconsin game was one. There was a ten minute stretch during the Maryland game at the RAC, where you saw Jordan's vision for the team completely unfold. And it brought a sense of optimism to the fans.
Press, run and back door cut. Hit the three.
Score the ball.
Pairing some quality scoring talent with Corey Sanders, and the three point shooting prowess of some of the other players (particularly Mike "Breakout Season Coming" Williams) and you might have something.
And then play just enough defense that they can't beat you.
But you can't do that without talent. And Jordan has two big holes on his roster right now. He needs to beat out his competitors.
He needs a win on the recruiting trail. If not Freeman and/or Ellison, Jordan is going to have to do some real digging. A win this spring would break the streak.
Time to get it done.
In other, sadder, news, longtime radio announcer, former coach, and loyal son, Dick Lloyd has retired his position. Lloyd is a Rutgers stalwart, someone who's always been around, at least to my ears, and he'll be missed.
My father and I often rush out to the car after the games in order to hear Lloyd's postgame analysis (which was often optimistic, even if the game wasn't), and his interview with whoever was the Rutgers coach at the time.
Lloyd will be missed. On the Banks wishes him great luck and relaxation in his retirement.
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