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Rutgers Basketball: Recruiting Battles for Top Targets

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Top basketball recruits have received a lot of attention and multiple offers during the July live recruiting period.  As we approach the start of the new school year, many recruits are starting to narrow down their lists of potential suitors and are deciding on future official visits.  With four open scholarships and still no commitments, let's review where Rutgers stands with many of their top targets for the class of 2016.

De'Riante Jenkins

A consensus 4-star recruit, Jenkins has made the most of his summer.  He has played well throughout the AAU circuit and has many high-major offers.  He recently narrowed his offer list to ten schools, of which Rutgers was included.  Jenkins is a former teammate of Corey Sanders so hopefully that will help Rutgers score an official visit from him.  The dynamic wing would be a major win on the recruiting trail because of his potential and his position, which is a desperate need that Eddie Jordan must fill with this class.

Quentin Jackson Jr

Jackson has also had a great summer and is a 3-star recruit according to rivals and 247sports.  Eddie Jordan offered him during the first week of evaluation during the July live recruiting period.  Although Rutgers has Sanders penciled into the starting point guard role, Jackson Jr would be a great addition.  At 6'4" he would be the tallest guard on the roster.  Don't underestimate Eddie Jordan's potential as a mad scientist.  I am sure he would plan to have both on the floor at times as they would be a potential matchup nightmare for other backcourts.

Kwe Parker

The wait continues.  There have been several indications previously that Parker was close to making a decision and wanted to be committed before the new school year began.  My feeling is if Parker announces before Labor Day he is going to Rutgers.  If he continues to delay, my guess is he is waiting for other high-major offers and may even go into his senior season uncommitted.  He is still working his way back from his broken foot and is now playing his senior season without #1 national recruit Harry Giles. Kwe may wait on a decision in order to improve his stock and try to prove doubters wrong that are not giving him the respect he thinks he deserves.  While he is a consensus 4-star guard, his injury had several schools cool on his recruitment and he didn't make much noise during the July live recruiting period.  The Rutgers staff has done everything possible and put themselves in great position to land Parker.  As Tom Petty said, "the waiting is the hardest part."

Bashir Ahmed

Ahmed is a JUCO All-American and former teammate of incoming freshman Deshawn Freeman.  Shoes Vetrone discovered him while recruiting Freeman last season at Hutchinson CC in Kansas.  Ahmed is another high flying wing who is coveted by the staff and he visited Rutgers in May.  This will be a key recruiting battle versus St. John's with his upcoming visit scheduled, he is a top target for them as well.  As I have written previously, Chris Mullin will be a difficult challenge for Eddie Jordan as they will go head to head now and in the future for local talent.  Jordan must prove he can win recruiting battles against Mullin and Ahmed would be a great start.

Andre Rafus

Rafus is a consensus 4-star forward from the class of 2017 and recent transfer to St. Benedict's Prep in Newark.  The Big Strick Classic has become a prestigious summer tournament featuring top local talent versus top national talent.  Rafus played for Team USA as he is from Baltimore.  Rutgers offered Rafus during the second week of the July live recruiting period.   His recruitment has blown up, with many high-major offers including UCLA, UCONN, Georgetown and St. John's as well as mid-major power Wichita State.   Expect Rutgers to be all over Rafus his junior season as he will now be playing locally.

There were many local targets with offers from Rutgers that played for the tri-state area teams in the Big Strick Classic.  3-star guard Rashond Salnave from the class of 2016 played as well as 2017 targets Sidney Wilson, Jose Alvarado and Isaiah Washington.  All are New York City guards with the exception of Wilson, who is a wing.  Eddie and staff are working hard to improve the NYC pipeline.  Full rosters for the Big Strick Classic are here.

Jagan Mosely

Mosely received an offer from Rutgers last summer but did not seriously consider them.  He is another example of a top New Jersey recruit that left the garden state, as Adam Zagoria lamented in the above tweets.  I have stressed before the importance for Eddie Jordan to consistently land top NJ and NYC recruits.  He and his staff have done a great job recruiting nationally, specifically North Carolina and Florida.  Other than Mike Williams from the class of 2014, Jordan hasn't landed a top local talent during his tenure and that must change for Rutgers to get to the next level in the Big Ten.  Which leads us to...

Taurean Thompson

Thompson is a consensus 4-star recruit and the top big man target in the class of 2016 for Rutgers.  He suffered a broken rib back in June and was unable to play during the July live recruiting period.  As he states in this article, Thompson is focused on getting healthy before scheduling his official visits.  He did visit Seton Hall unofficially last week and also has offers from Temple and Xavier as well as from both Hurley brothers at Rhode Island and Arizona State.  It will be very interesting in the coming years to see how many players from St. Anthony's end up playing for the sons of legendary high school coach Bob Hurley.  Look for more high-majors to offer Thompson once he is healthy during his senior season.  Thompson is still developing but has major upside and is a priority for Eddie Jordan and staff.  Securing a commitment from him would be a major development for Rutgers as Thompson would be the most talented big man to arrive on the banks in many years.

Follow me on twitter at @aaron_breitman for all Rutgers basketball and recruiting news.