While the Rutgers men's basketball team still has three scholarships open for next season, there are few options available. The staff is surely working hard to land a graduate transfer eligible to play next season, but the focus on the future is apparent. With just three established scholarship backcourt players on the current roster, the Rutgers men's basketball staff was busy hosting multiple guard recruits on campus this past week. We reviewed the entire offer list that Rutgers has made for the class of 2017 here. Let's take a look at who visited this week, as well as a couple recruits who are planning to visit in the near future.
Rutgers offered one of the top point guards in New England back in late April, and this past Monday Baker took an unofficial visit to campus. SNY's Adam Zagoria spoke with Baker after his visit and here is what he had to say:
"[The visit] was great," Baker told SNY.tv by phone. "The campus was huge. There's like five campuses, so I got to see two of them. The gym was really big, the coaches were really positive."
"I actually got to see the blueprints of the new practice facilities," he said. "There's going to be two courts, one for the boys' side, one for the girls' side. They're completely renovating the weight room. They're making it a lot bigger. They're going to have a whole new film room and it just looks great."
Baker said he was told the renovation is an "18-month process."
As we have said before, having an actual plan on the future practice facility is key for head coach Steve Pikiell and his staff to present to recruits moving forward. While a specific timeline of 18 months to complete construction of the facility seems doable, the engineering work and bid phase for selecting a contractor is not yet completed. However, this timeline still jives with what Hobbs was saying back in May, that a "high school basketball recruit now will practice in that facility."
Regarding Baker, he seems poised to break out this summer on the AAU tournament circuit in July. While he currently doesn't have any other high major offers, it's likely that will change heading into his senior season. Baker will take two more visits before the busy July live recruiting period begins.
Three days after Baker visited campus, one of the top point guards in New York City met with Pikiell and the staff at Rutgers.
Had a great unofficial visit at Rutgers University. Thanks for the coaching stuff for making me feel welcome ⚪️— RealRightJose (@AlvaradoJose15) June 9, 2016
I wrote about Rutgers making Alvarado a top priority for the class of 2017 here. It was huge for the staff to host the gritty guard on campus before the July live recruiting period begins. SNY;s Adam Zagoria caught up with Alvarado after his visit this week:
"They showed me around the school," Alvarado said. "I felt comfortable. It was just a great time." "They're telling me I'm their top choice right now and they would love for me to give them that answer," he said of Rutgers. "I said I definitely would think about it and talk more about it with my parents, but I'm not giving them that decision yet. They want me there."
Recently, Alvarado's coach at Christ The King high school, Joe Arbitello, said that Rutgers, Seton Hall, and Butler were working the hardest for Alvarado. According to Zagoria, Alvarado is planning visits to Miami and Butler in the near future. Landing a top point guard from a NYC power high school would make a big statement for the new Rutgers staff. Alvarado is the type of player that coach Pikiell wants in order to make his desired style of play a reality for the program.
Here is a link to a new highlight video of Alvarado from last week's Pangos All-American camp, in which the NYC point guard stood out as a top performer.
The Florida transfer and former 4-star recruit has been on his official visit to Rutgers since Friday and it concludes today. We covered his recent recruitment in more detail here. It appears that Rutgers is just battling with Texas Tech for his services, as the guard visited there within the last week. Although Francis will have to sit out next season due to transfer rules, having a player with big program experience practicing with the team right away is a plus. Adding Francis would give Pikiell and the staff a new piece to add to the puzzle for the future, as they work to change the culture of the program. Perhaps Francis will help build the pipeline to Rutgers from Arlington Country Day School in Jacksonville, Florida, where 2016 commit Issa Thiam attended. Former Rutgers player Wally Judge played there as well.
Future Visits Planned
As of now, there have been no additional visits reportedly scheduled with other recruits or transfers. However, two top recruits are planning to visit Rutgers soon.
French is a super athletic player who has double digit offers from high major programs. Getting him on campus for a visit would be big news for Rutgers. He is also a key recruit, as the new staff looks to build relationships with top local AAU programs like the PSA Cardinals, who French plays for.
4 PG Jalen Carey will visit Rutgers & St.Joe's soon. Offers too from Pitt, DePaul,VCU-with recent Villanova interest pic.twitter.com/r6rBQrevd7— Andrew Slater (@ASlater247) June 8, 2016
Carey is a 4-star point guard in the class of 2018 from Harlem in New York City. He made ESPN's top 60 rankings for the class of 2018 this week, coming in at #32 on the list. Hopefully, Rutgers can get Carey on campus soon, as interest in his services will surely increase for the rising junior.
Overall, coach Pikiell and his staff continue to work hard on the recruiting trail. With the upcoming July live recruiting period beginning in just a few weeks, the staff has made dozen's of offers to recruits since April for the next three recruiting cycles. While landing a scholarship player for next season is extremely important, the staff has done a good job laying the groundwork for the future. Landing the Florida transfer Francis would also be a positive development and something we should find out about soon.