The Rutgers men's basketball team has had an unfortunate historical pattern with annual transfers leaving the program over the years. As the current team sits at 6-21 overall and 0-14 in the Big Ten, depth has been a major issue. Even before the injuries and suspensions, Rutgers had just 11 active scholarship players to start the season. Kansas State transfer Nigel Johnson is sitting out per transfer rules and the other spot remained open after the staff was unable to fill it before the season. Players who contributed but didn't mesh with Jordan's style and plan, as well as not properly identifying talent to contribute to the team are definite factors in why the program is in such decline. In fairness, Eddie had more ground than usual to make up with the roster, after four players transferred during the fallout of the Mike Rice scandal. However, at some point this program needs to stop the bleeding of three to four players leaving, year after year. Let's examine all the players over the past three years, including those left once Mike Rice was fired in 2013 and those that have left during the Eddie Jordan era.
The former St. Anthony's star was part of Mike Rice's top 25 recruiting class from 2011 that included Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack. He was a pure scorer who had a propensity for bad shots and killed the offensive flow of the team at times. However, he led the team in scoring in both seasons he played, which were the last two in the Big East for Rutgers. Carter averaged 13.8 points as a freshman and 14.9 points as a sophomore. He also averaged 2.8 turnovers in both seasons, and saw his shooting percentage from the field drop from 41% his freshman season to 38% his sophomore season.
Carter made the decision to transfer after the Mike Rice scandal. He was granted a waiver by the NCAA due to the unusual circumstances and went to play for Billy Donovan at Florida. The move worked in the past for former St. Anthony's and Rutgers star Mike Rosario, who transferred there in 2010. Carter didn't have the same success as Rosario, barely playing his first season and taking a redshirt anyway. Last season, the first that Florida failed to achieve 20 wins in 17 seasons, Carter came off the bench and averaged 8.8 points a game on just 36% shooting from the field. Perhaps this season would have been his breakout under Donovan, but he left for the NBA to coach the Oklahoma City Thunder. Carter decided to leave as well, this time as a graduate transfer, and landed at Boston College.
The Eagles are generally considered the second worst power five conference team in the country, only ahead of Rutgers. They have a 7-19 record overall and are also winless in the ACC at 0-13. Carter leads them in scoring and assists, averaging 15.7 points and 4.0 assists per game, but also averages 3.3 turnovers per game. He continues to struggle with shooting, averaging just 36% from the field, including 30% from three-point range. He is more or less the player he was at Rutgers, an inefficient scorer with a propensity for turnovers. Carter will end his career with the distinction of being a 15 point scorer in two power five conferences, the Big East and ACC.
Poole was part of Mike Rice's first recruiting class and while he showed flashes at times, ultimately he never progressed into a consistent contributor. His scoring averages were 5.6 points as a freshman, 6.5 points as a sophomore, and 4.4 points as a junior. Poole's shooting dipped each season, dropping from 42% to 40% to 34% from the field. He was consistent all three seasons in averaging about 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal per game. Poole decided to leave after the Rice scandal and landed at Iona, playing the 2013-2014 season due to the special waiver granted by the NCAA. Poole was the sixth man for a Gaels team that went 22-11 and lost in the 1st round of the NIT. He averaged 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists a game while significantly improving his shooting, hitting on 48% from the field and 83% from the free throw line.
Randall was also part of Rice's ballyhooed 2011 recruiting class, but never fulfilled his potential. After averaging just 2 points and 2 rebounds a game in both of his seasons on the banks, Randall transferred to Pittsburgh and played for head coach Jamie Dixon in his last two seasons. He struggled to crack the rotation and averaged the same 2 points and 2 rebounds per game there. Randall was actually arrested for a DWI on the Rutgers campus in 2014 while visiting and was suspended from the Pitt program for a time. Randall eventually filed a lawsuit against Rutgers for physical, mental, verbal, and emotional abuse he suffered under head coach Mike Rice.
Garrett was a JUCO transfer and failed to make much of an impact in Mike Rice's last season as coach. He only played in 12 games and averaged just 4 minutes per appearance. Garrett also took advantage of the NCAA waiver to play right away, transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He played his senior season at the Horizon league power and the team went 24-7, losing in the 1st round of the NIT. Garrett averaged 6 points and 3 rebounds off the bench, while shooting 41% from the field in 16 minutes per game.
Eddie Jordan Era Transfers
After 2013-2014 Season
Seagears was part of the Rice 2011 recruiting class and stayed to play for Eddie Jordan in his first season as head coach during the 2013-2014 campaign. Seagears saw his minutes per game drop under Jordan and he transferred to UNLV with one season of eligibility left. After sitting out last season, Seagears is averaging career highs with 9.5 points, 3.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. UNLV is currently 16-12 this season. Seagears filed a similar lawsuit against Rutgers that Randall had done previously.
The 5'11" JUCO transfer averaged 17+ minutes per game in his only season at Rutgers, scoring 5.4 points a game on 39% shooting. He transferred to Campbellsville of the NAIA, where he could play the next season and not have to sit out per NCAA rules.
Brown was a JUCO transfer that played 15 minutes a game and averaged 3.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game during his only season at Rutgers. He struggled shooting the ball, connecting on just 29% of his shots from the field. He then transferred to Kent State and was even less a factor for the Golden Flashes, averaging less than 2 points per game his senior season.
After 2014-2015 Season
Etou was a regular starter last season and averaged 7.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game on 40% shooting from the field. He was suspended one game last season due to "failing to meet team expectations" and didn't travel with the team for that game at Penn State. Soon after the season it was announced Etou was leaving the program, ultimately transferring to Tulsa. Whatever the reason, it was a big blow due to an anticipated bigger role this season, and the fact Etou was Jordan's first big time recruit. He is sitting this season out due to transfer rules and has two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Okoro had transferred to Rutgers from Iowa State to be closer to home after two family tragedies. Unfortunately, Okoro never made a significant impact on the floor for Rutgers, averaging 2 points and 1 rebound in just 7 minutes per game over his two seasons on the banks. Okoro transferred to Norfolk State and will play his senior season next year.
Johnson never took the court for Rutgers, as he redshirted last season. He transferred last summer and it is unknown as to where he landed.
Let's hope we don't have to add anyone of significance to this list after this season ends in just a few weeks. With Corey Sanders and Deshawn Freeman currently serving suspensions, we can only hope they both respond in a positive way and take care of their responsibilities. It is vital for Eddie Jordan to have these two players return to the program and contribute in a positive way moving forward, as they are the two most talented players on the roster. It is also important to not suffer through annual attrition, as the program desperately needs roster continuity. With three commits already in the class of 2016, Eddie and the staff are actively searching to fill the fourth scholarship available. With the program mired in a 29 game Big Ten losing streak, it's fair to worry the annual mass exodus may continue this offseason yet again.