We are approaching the middle of May and the Rutgers men's basketball program is still searching for players to fill out the roster for next season. The transfer market is another recruiting cycle of its own, and in someways more unpredictable. Schools are recruiting graduate transfers to make immediate impacts and those same players want an opportunity where they will play right away. Transfers with more than one season of eligibility offer programs experienced players who can be a big piece to the puzzle in the future.
With four open scholarships next season, Rutgers is looking for both types of transfers. Last week, I highlighted players that were either being targeted by Rutgers or those that could be potential fits that they decide to pursue. This week saw a lot of activity with those players mentioned, so let's update their status and look at where Rutgers is currently at in adding to the roster.
Transfer Targets Committed Elsewhere
Syracuse transfer Chinonso Obokoh has committed to St. Bonaventure, source told @CBSSports. Immediately eligible.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 7, 2016
Obokoh was looking to start right away and with the frontcourt depth of Rutgers, there was no guarantee he would. Obviously with Deshawn Freeman, Shaq Doorson, and Ibrahima Diallo returning from season ending injuries, adding Obokoh would have helped with depth. However, it's possible the Rutgers staff see recent JUCO transfer commit Candido Sa as a player who could start right away. He also has more game experience than Obokoh the past two seasons, even though it was against a lower level of competition. While hearing Rutgers lost a graduate transfer to St. Bonaventure is disappointing at first glance, it's not that big of a loss in terms of what Rutgers needs and what Obokoh offered.
Coppin State transfer Christian Kessee has committed to Memphis, sources told @CBSSports. Eligible immediately.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 12, 2016
While Kessee would have been a major addition for Rutgers, they were never really in the fight for his services. Good by the staff for doing their due diligence and contacting Kessee, but sources seemed to indicate Memphis was his destination all along. Still, the Coppin State transfer's skill set is right in line with what Rutgers needs. While there probably aren't any graduate transfers left who are such dynamic scorers as Kessee, the staff is surely scouring the market for shooters. Remember, Rutgers didn't land shooting guard Omari Grier as a graduate transfer until later in the summer. There is still time.
Virginia tech transfer Jalen Hudson told ESPN he will head to Florida. Another quality pickup for the Gators.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 11, 2016
It's likely Rutgers assistant Brandin Knight at least reached out to Hudson, but the quality guard was only looking at established programs. He reportedly chose Florida over Texas.
Transfer Target Visits To Rutgers
Caleb & Cody Martin
Official visit to Rutgers today!— Caleb Martin (@Calebmartin14) May 10, 2016
The twins took an official visit to Rutgers this past Tuesday and Wednesday. They have been on the move since, as they immediately took another official visit to Nevada. This article highlights that visit and states the twins are expected to take a visit to Texas at some point. Coincidentally, it also mentions that potential Rutgers transfer target Hallice Cooke is visiting Nevada as well. There has been no reports of Rutgers pursuing Cooke though.
The brothers Martin previously visited East Carolina and reportedly have interest in Old Dominion and UNC-Wilmington as well. They seem to be weighing their options of playing for a power five conference program again versus heading to a mid-major where they could potentially be the stars of the team.
Caleb is listed by ESPN as the #3 best available transfer player left on the market and landing his services would be a big win for Rutgers. Cody would be a quality pickup as well, as the pair offer versatility, experience and could emerge as leaders within the program. They would have to sit out next season, but their impact in practice and their big program experience could help the team right away. The fact that they are committed to transferring together makes their recruitment more complicated. I question whether Texas would even have room for both. There hasn't been any word on their time frame for making a decision, but my guess is we will know by the end of the month.
Who Else Is Rutgers Pursuing?
We know Rutgers reached out to Florida transfer and former 4-star guard Brandone Francis-Ramirez. There is no word on how involved they are and if he plans to visit campus. He has two years of eligibility left and would have to sit out next season due to transfer rules.
Aside from that, there hasn't been any other players reported to be in the mix at the moment. Now that doesn't mean head coach Steve Pikiell and his staff aren't currently kicking the tires on any and every possibility. Spoiler alert, they definitely are. It's a difficult challenge to convince a quality graduate transfer to play their last season of eligibility for a program that is in complete rebuild mode. Transfers with more than one season of eligibility can be sold on the vision of the next 2-3 seasons. The issue is they can't help on the court next season.
The other bit of news Rutgers is waiting is on is whether class of 2016 3-star wing Issa Thiam re-commits and signs his letter of intent later this month. Shoes Vetrone has been the lead on Issa from the start and indications seem to be Rutgers is the heavy favorite. The waiting game continues and it's highly unlikely the staff would add any other players from the class of 2016.
As the Rutgers staff continue to work towards adding to the roster for next season, a surprise addition or two is always possible, as this staff has connections far and wide within recruiting circles. At this point though, landing the Martin brothers and Issa would be big wins for the new coaching staff.