Rutgers basketball had been in hot pursuit of former 4-star recruits and twin brothers Caleb & Cody Martin, who were transferring from N.C. State. They visited Rutgers two weeks ago and the possibility of adding a pair of experienced and versatile players became very real. Today that dream died.
Cody and Caleb Martin committed to. Nevada over Rutgers, source tells @SNYtv— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) May 25, 2016
This hurts for several reasons. For one, Rutgers has three scholarships remaining and the only other known transfer candidate scheduled to visit is Florida guard Brandone Francis. While the brothers Martin would not of been eligible to play next season due to transfer rules, their impact on the program would have been immediate. They would have practiced with the team during the season and their veteran presence would have been a positive in helping the new coaching staff establish a new culture within the program.
Another negative is perception, as Rutgers has now lost transfer candidates to St. Bonaventure and Nevada in the matter of weeks. Personally, I don't think it matters in the long run, as the Pikiell era is just getting started. In addition, Rutgers did recently beat out Texas for JUCO player Candido Sa, a rim defender who should make an immediate impact next season. However, having two transfers from an ACC school choose Rutgers would have certainly helped open some eyes on the national landscape that things are changing for the better on the banks. It was not to be this time.
Tough one for RU, which had roster room & patience for this odd package deal. NC State transfers would have helped. https://t.co/29Pf0jJSOc— Jerry Carino (@NJHoopsHaven) May 25, 2016
Another negative is having the Martin twins would have increased expectations for year two of the Steve Pikiell era. He made it clear this past week that his preferred playing style is an up and down pace while pressing on defense. Having the Martin brothers, along with an experienced roster, would have made the possibility of Rutgers playing this type of basketball a closer reality. In all likelihood, Rutgers will be looking for two recruits in the class of 2017 to fill these spots. Of course, Rutgers could land two recruits ready to contribute from day one, but there will still be more of a learning curve than if they had two experienced players like the brothers Martin.
Rutgers must add at least one more immediately eligible player. Roster's at 10 right now. Too thin. Likely to roll 1-2 scholarships over.— Jerry Carino (@NJHoopsHaven) May 25, 2016
With all that being said, yes it's a disappointment but it's not the end of the world. Rutgers will keep searching for players and landing the former 4-star recruit Francis from Florida would be a quality addition. In terms of adding a graduate transfer at this point, it is possible but the likelihood of landing an impact player seems slim. It's a tough sell to convince a player with just one year of eligibility left to join a rebuilding project unlikely to play in the postseason. Rutgers entering next season with only 10 scholarship players is becoming more of a reality, although the program did land graduate transfer Omari Grier last season during the summer.
We knew it would not all be a bed of roses in the rebuilding process. Steve Pikiell and his staff are off to a very good start and the future is definitely more bright than it was back in March. They will keep plowing ahead and their development of the current roster will go along way in changing long term perception on the recruiting trail. Patience is needed.