We thought Rutgers men's basketball coach Steve Pikiell was close to his first hiring on Wednesday, when it was reported that Buffalo assistant coach and former UCONN star Donyell Marshall was coming to Piscataway. While it is still possible, it appears Marshall coming to Rutgers is not imminent nor guaranteed. It was also reported he interviewed for the head coaching position at Central Connecticut State this week.
However, today it was reported that two staff members from Pikiell's staff at Stony Brook are joining him at Rutgers.
Source tells me Stony Brook assistant Dan Rickard will join the Rutgers staff in a capacity to be determined.— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) March 25, 2016
Would have to think Rickard will be one of the three full-time assistants, although that hasn't been confirmed.— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) March 25, 2016
Rickard has worked for Pikiell for the past 11 years and has been a full-time assistant since 2007. His focus on Stony Brook's staff was running the offense and focusing on the backcourt players. He also played at Stony Brook from 2002-2004. While nothing has been announced officially, Rickard did change his twitter profile to Rutgers University Men's Basketball. Based on his history with Pikiell and his experience, it's likely he will end up as one of the three assistant coaches on the staff.
In addition to Rickard, Jerry Carino is reporting that former New Jersey high school star Bryan Dougher is joining Pikiell's staff as well. Dougher help lead Scotch Plains-Fanwood high school to the 2008 Group III title before starring as a player for Pikiell at Stony Brook. Dougher is the second leading scorer in Stony Brook program history and served as Director of Basketball Operations the past two seasons. Carino indicates that it's likely Dougher will serve in a similar role at Rutgers and not as a full-time assistant. Dougher attended Tuesday's press conference announcing Pikiell as coach and is pictured on the far right here.
While there has been no official announcement from Rutgers as of yet, based on both Rickard and Dougher having worked on Pikiell's staff at Stony Brook, it seems likely they will be joining his staff. Once we hear officially and as to what capacity, we will update this report.
As for recruiting, it seems coach Pikiell has made at least one new offer since taking over the program on Tuesday.
Coach Pikiell offered me a scholarship tonight.— Christian CV Vital (@I_AMCV) March 25, 2016
Christian Vital is a 3-star point guard in the class of 2016 and played at St. Thomas More in Connecticut. Vital originally committed to UNLV, but re-opened his recruitment earlier this month. Former head coach Dave Rice was fired mid-season. According to 247 sports, Vital has offers from Connecticut, Boston College, Dayton, Rhode Island, SMU, and VCU, among others. Louisville appears to be in the mix as well.
Vital plays for the PSA Cardinals, a prominent AAU team from New York City loaded with Division I talent. Their roster currently has seven players committed to Division I schools for next year, including Bryce Aiken to Harvard, Omari Spellman to Villanova, Ty Jerome to Virginia, and Kassoum Yawke to St. John's. Even if Rutgers is too late in the game to gain Vital's commitment, Pikiell making an effort to create in roads to local AAU programs such as PSA, is much needed and very smart. It's great to see Pikiell being aggressive on the recruiting trail already and without a staff as of yet.
Rutgers didn't have much of a chance offering so late in the process. However, it was still a positive move by Pikiell to make the offer and start building a relationship with the PSA Cardinals. Plus, Vital has quite a list of suitors so this was simply a starting point for Pikiell.
More to come as the Steve Pikiell era for Rutgers basketball is very much underway!