Steve Pikiell and his coaching staff are working hard to add talented players to the roster, including scouring the transfer market. Today they have a shot with two high profile transfer candidates with ACC and NCAA Tournament experience.
NC State transfers Caleb and Cody Martin told ESPN they will visit Rutgers tomorrow.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 9, 2016
While the brothers Martin would have to sit out this season due to transfer rules, they would bring depth and experience that would be valuable to the program in the long term. Both players were 4-star recruits out of the famed high school program Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. They each held offers from Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, according to 247 sports, as well as interest from North Carolina, Xavier, Tennessee, and Georgetown. 247 sports rated the twins the 15th and 16th top small forwards in the 2014 recruiting class. Cody's recruiting profile can be viewed here and Caleb's here.
The duo have played both guard and the wing positions at NC State and were fourth and fifth on the team in scoring this past season. Caleb averaged 11.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 0.9 steals while playing 30.5 minutes per game last season. He also averaged 36% from three-point range on 219 attempts. Cody averaged 6.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.2 steals while playing 25.8 minutes per game last season. He is known as a strong defensive player, while Caleb is more skilled offensively. They play with high energy and are said to be tireless workers behind the scenes.
Rutgers will have an inexperienced roster for the upcoming season with zero seniors on scholarship. It's possible two JUCO transfers will start in Candido Sa and Deshawn Freeman, the latter who played just 7 games last season before suffering a season ending knee injury. There are two big men returning from season ending injuries, Ibrahima Diallo, who played just 14 games last season as a redshirt freshman and Shaq Doorson, who missed the entire season. However, Pikiell and his staff are known for their strong player development backgrounds so some progress should be expected next season. If they can groom the talent that does exist on the roster, adding the Martin twins for the following season all of sudden gives Rutgers a deep and experienced team for the 2017-2018 season.
2017-2018 Potential Roster
Forwards: Deshawn Freeman, Candido Sa
Guards: Nigel Johnson, Mike Williams
Forwards: Ibrahima Diallo, Shaq Doorson
Guard: Corey Sanders
Wings: Jonathan Laurent, Caleb Martin, Cody Martin
Guard: Matt Bullock
Wing: Issa Thiam
* One Open Scholarship
The Martin brothers are 6'7" wings that offer versatility and tournament experience. They each started 15 or more games last season for NC State and are accustomed to the nightly battles that exist in a power conference like the Big Ten. Pikiell likes to run with a rotation 10 or 11 players deep if possible, which allows him to play an aggressive defensive style. Last season at Stony Brook, 9 players averaged 10 minutes or more per game, with a 10th player averaging close to 9 minutes.
It will be a challenge to close the twins, who just visited East Carolina and are planning to visit Old Dominion after Rutgers. It's possible that they will prefer to be big fishes in a smaller pond, having a better chance to start and be the focal points for those teams mentioned. However, if Pikiell can sell them on his vision for the program and their roles in it, the twins would be valuable additions.
I was concerned at first that adding both brothers would severely limit the staff in the 2017 recruiting cycle. That would still be the case, assuming the nine players accounted for work out, plus Issa Thiam signing in the next two weeks.
Rutgers is in strong position to land 6-9 Issa Thiam, source tells @SNYtv. May take another week or so.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) May 6, 2016
However, adding two established transfers to a roster that would suddenly be a junior and senior laden group comprised of three former 4-star recruits and seven former 3-star recruits, it could result in the perfect mix of players that Pikiell needs heading into year 2. While the staff has close to two dozen offers out for the class of 2017, they are really laying the groundwork to make a splash with the 2018 recruiting class. Showing major progress in year 2 would go along way to landing a top recruit or two, when 4-5 scholarships could be available. The Martin brothers could be a major factor in taking Rutgers from the basement of the Big Ten to the postseason in 2017-2018. This week is a big opportunity for the program to continue building a strong base for the future.