Length, length, length.
It's been Eddie Jordan's recruiting mantra from day one, and it appears he finally has the team he's envision--mostly. He's upgraded the talent into his image, quick and long players who can excel in the open court. Corey Sanders is the point guard he's been searching for, and Deshawn Freeman is expected to get buckets. While the squad could certainly use another shooter, Mike Williams, Justin Goode, and hopefully Jonathan Laurent and Ryan Johnson should adequately fill that role.
Shooters are important because it's a way to quickly make your team dangerous. When you can spread the floor with some dead eye shooters, defense can't cheat and pack the paint like they did last year. Not only will that open things for inside players, it will also lead to easy backcut baskets--an Eddie Jordan specialty. If Goode, Williams and company can up their shooting percentage from beyond the arc even to be a middle of the pack team, they will be much better.
But, what about defensively?
That's where length is really going to be important. For stretches last year, the Rutgers players who Jordan recruited pressed the heck out of teams. It worked against Maryland in the final home game of the year, holding Rutgers close. It worked in some of the other battles on the court. The length the squad has fit this strategy. Longer players can make it difficult to pass out of a press, and they can also trap smaller point guards.
Not to mention, length can disrupt teams in the half court as well. The Scarlet Knights can be aggressive and clog passing lanes, which will lead to fast breaks. For Jordan's strategy to work, he's got to be willing to play up tempo at all times, and use his depth. Last year, Rutgers kept the young players on the bench. Since this team is ridiculously young this year, he doesn't have that option, so everyone is going to have to be thrown to the fire.
If Jordan plays to the strategy he's recruited for, the games should be fun and fast paced affairs. Running and pressing could lead to early blowouts, but as the team gets better at it, they should be able to compete really well.
And if they can find another shooter? Watch out.
Even though they're at their scholarship limit, it appears Jordan isn't done recruiting yet. They're still hoping Malik Ellison decides to come to Piscataway, even though is reporting that he'll pick St. John's.
Also, Rutgers is bringing in a JUCO stretch power forward to visit:
6-10 Pratt CC forward Vladimir Brodziansky visits Rutgers tomorrow, source tells @SNYtv. Also considering TCU and Gonzaga.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 30, 2015
Landing a stretch four could really change the complexion of this team even more.
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