Okay, boys and girls, it's time to play....
What's the Rutgers Word?
We give you the opening of the sentence and you complete it. Simple. Ready? Go.....
So far, Chris Ash's recruiting is _____
Bob Cancro: Acceptable - considering the time frame, and what he had to overcome from relationships to perceptions of RU, he's doing fine. However, acceptable is only permitted this year.
Scott Logan: Aggressive - Ash has been hard at work since the dead period ended, especially when pursuing a dual-threat quarterback to fit the spread offense. So far, Ash has only gained one commitment, and we shouldn't expect him to work a miracle after playing catch-up, but hopefully his aggressiveness on the recruiting trail can salvage this class.
Aaron Breitman: Resourceful - They have offers out to players all over the country, while also making it a focus to build relationships with New Jersey coaches and recruits. They are planning and building for the short term and long term at the same time. All while having limited time to close out the class of 2016. I think they will land a better quality crop than expected, which will only be the beginning.
Griffin Whitmer: Inconclusive - Ash has not had a lot of time on the job. He lost a couple of players, but those decommitments were all expected to a degree when Flood got fired. His big test will be keeping recruits Taysir Mack and Alex Barbir, who were both recently offered by Penn State. He has about 10 spots to fill, and if he gets the kids I think he can get, it will have been an incredibly successful recruiting cycle for a coach who only had about a month to fill an already lackluster class. Look for him to try to land KJ Gray, KJ Sails, Jonah Morris and Tylin Oden to be his first group of big-time commits. If these four sign with Rutgers, I will be ecstatic about his recruiting efforts, considering he isn't known as an elite recruiter.
Pat Hobbs presence at Rutgers is _____
Bob Cancro: Hopeful - as people keep saying, there seems to be a new feeling, a feeling of hope. Hell, even the Ledger's stories seem positive. Maybe miraculous is a better word?
Scott Logan: Crowd-pleasing - I was in attendance for his first public appearance at a men's basketball game. I spoke with him briefly and he was very personable and down-to-earth. Not only was he talking to general fans and alumni, but he also made the rounds through the student section, introducing himself and taking pictures with anyone who asked. With his personality and the Ash hire, in just over a month I think he has already endeared himself to fans more than Julie ever did in two and a half years.
Aaron Breitman: Inspiring - It is so foreign to feel a sense of comfort that our athletic department is finally headed in the right direction. I liked Tim Pernetti and thought he did some very good things at Rutgers, but the three years since he stepped down after the Mike Rice scandal ensued, feels more like twenty years. When Julie Hermann took over, hopelessness followed. It was downright depressing and there was no sign of anything changing anytime soon. And then Barchi stepped up and delivered us Hobbs, which at the time, felt like a gift from God. All signs have been positive so far and he seems to not only have a legitimate plan, but the ability and means to execute that plan successfully!
Griffin Whitmer: Relieving - I am so relieved that there is an AD that we can trust. Even though he hasn't done much, has has done all the right things and said all the right things, something Julie Hermann can't say about her first month or two on the job. Also, looking back on Tim Pernetti, he was not the great AD we thought he was. Communications is his strength and he was crucial in getting us B1G. However, this is the same man that hired Mike Rice AND Kyle Flood. Let that sink in. Two of the worst hires in recent memory. With Hobbs, we know we have an incredibly smart man that has made big decisions before and seems like the right man for the job and I'm sure has alleviated the stress of many Rutgers fans.
Dave White: Groovy. Gone are the days of the gaffe. It seems that Hobbs is carrying himself with dignity and not scrambling when the press comes a calling. No longer do I see a headline about the Rutgers AD and worry about cringing only minutes afterward. So far it seems Hobbs knows what has to be done and is working his way toward solving the existential riddle that is the Rutgers Athletic Department.
University President Bob Barchi is _____
Bob Cancro: Patient - as in he's biding his time, waiting to get out. I still can't help but feel that he made the athletics moves that he did grudgingly. He wanted the deficit/subsidy eliminated. He would have rejected the Big Ten if it required additional spending. June 2017 can't come soon enough for him...or me.
Scott Logan: Political - as I suppose we should expect with a President. Like Bob said, he's never seemed super enthused in advancing our athletic programs. To him, it seems to be about the bottom-line. Barchi will likely never connect with Scarlet Knights fans again after many have held the dismissal of super-popular Tim Pernetti against him.
Aaron Breitman: Learning - I wrote in the fall that it was time for Dr. Barchi to step up in a major way and reshape the future of the athletic department, which in turn would positively affect the entire university. Low and behold, he laid low and came up with a plan to do just that. And he pulled it off flawlessly, not only reshaping the future of Rutgers, but reshaping his own legacy. It doesn't matter why he changed and finally made athletics a priority, it just matters that he finally did!
Griffin Whitmer: Hopeful - He is hopeful that Pat Hobbs is a competent AD and he will no longer have to make any big decisions on athletics. I think Hermann made Barchi look worse than he was and made his job a lot more difficult. He isn't an athletics guy and we all knew that from the beginning. He is a very smart man, however, and with the help of Hobbs being a good athletic director he will be able to focus on the things he knows he is good at.
Dave White: Meh. We'll see on Barchi. I mean, he took decisive action in November, but can he keep it up or has he dumped everything on Hobbs' plate like he did with Pernetti and the Julie? If Barchi finally understands how a good athletic department that functions to win can help the branding and advertising of the school, we are in good shape.
Rutgers alum Senator Ray Lesniak is _____
Bob Cancro: Magical - And, yes, Senator, you can use this in your next campaign literature. He has been a savior, an outspoken supporter, and a seeming lone voice in the legislature speaking out boldly for the State University. Thanks, Senator.
Scott Logan: Heroic - I've never understood why Gov. Christie hasn't made more of an effort to push Rutgers, especially after the move to the Big Ten. There's so much potential in both the academics and athletics of the State University, but besides appearing at a football game here or there, he's mostly kept his distance from Rutgers. Thankfully, Senator Lesniak has gone to great lengths to use his power to help grow Rutgers athletics. He's just what we need.
Aaron Breitman: Gubernatorial - He has taken the political bull by its horns and became Rutgers #1 public defender/supporter. While Governor Christie has supported Rutgers throughout the years at times, he was more inclined to make public recommendations versus actually making a positive difference. Senator Lesniak put words into action and rallied RU alums to get the tax credit bill passed. He showed his ability to unite a large group of people in a common cause and I fully endorse him to be the next Governor of New Jersey. Which by the way, would be a great thing for Rutgers!
Griffin Whitmer: Essential - The word heroic was already taken so I chose essential. He is no doubt essential to Rutgers' success. He has contributed so much to this university, both in the public's eye and behind the scenes that we don't get to see. Quite frankly, I think he'd be a pretty darn good athletic director if we didn't already have Hobbs (who I love so far). I won't get too into politics since this is sports website; Lesniak is a huge key to success for Rutgers athletics and hopefully he keeps up all the great work he has done.
Dave White: Solid Gold. Lesniak saw a weakness when it came to facilities and lit a fire under the Rutgers administration. He single handedly pushed through a bill to help Rutgers step to the plate and get into the Big Ten in more than just name only. Let's see if Rutgers can capitalize on it. Plus, Lesniak likes teachers, so he's good with me.
Men's hoops coach Eddie Jordan is _____
Bob Cancro: Dead man walking - I know, it's three words. But it's the only thing that comes to mind. The program is not much different in terms of the description. It's a matter of time.
Scott Logan: Done - It seems like ages ago he beat Wisconsin and things seemed to be looking up. Since then, this program has been an embarrassment. Rutgers hasn't won a conference game since January 11, 2015. This season, they've faced some truly humiliating losses, blowing double-digit second half leads to St. John's and Wake Forest and losing by 29 to Seton Hall, 34 to George Washington, 25 to Maryland, 34 to Nebraska, and 50 to Purdue. Rutgers is the laughingstock of the Big Ten, and perhaps the worst Power Five team in basketball. Yes, I know Eddie's team has dealt with several injuries this year, yes I know not having Kadeem Jack, Myles Mack and Junior Etou anymore hurts, but no team, especially one with a player as talented as Corey Sanders, should be getting humiliated on such a regular basis. Time to move on.
Dave White: hoping his defenders show up in the comments section*. The Jordan Era has run its course, full of blow out losses, bad defense, injuries, and embarrassment on the court. While Eddie seems like a class act, and did well by the school and owning up to his degree scandal, it's clear he will not the be the one to turn Rutgers basketball around. Tip your cap, Mr. Jordan and let's hope you ride off into the sunset away from Rutgers basketball this year.
Aaron Breitman: Overwhelmed - I don't think Eddie ever thought this job would be so difficult and felt by year three he would be well on his way to turning things around. I think that is part of the reason he didn't fight for more than a five year contract, which his old coach Tom Young said he pleaded him to demand. I think he felt with his NBA pedigree, he would be able to adapt to the college game and talent would flock to learn under his tutelage. Hasn't happened and based on his recent comments, he sounds completely in over his head. Time to put him out of his misery.
Griffin Whitmer: Lame Duck - Losses are acceptable when dealing with injuries. 50 point home losses are not. No effort is not. When a coach literally says he does not coach rebounding and proceeds to let the other team have more rebounds that Rutgers had points, there is a big problem. I was willing to give Eddie some slack. However, they probably won't win another game this year and no coach survives a 5 win season in the power-5. New AD Pat Hobbs will need to hire his own guy to run the program. Eddie is a legend at Rutgers for his playing ability, but will not be remembered the same way as a coach.
Dave White Footnote*: My ability to use just one word here was as good as Rutgers three point defense.