While Rutgers continues to search for players to fill out next season's roster, it's clear that they will have at least one open scholarship for the 2017 recruiting cycle. With recent commits Candido Sa and Issa Thiam joining the program this summer, Rutgers actually has solid depth in the frontcourt for the next two seasons. A major priority for the staff is landing a point guard for the future. They appear to have a #1 target within the class of 2017.
Alvarado was actually offered last summer by Eddie Jordan's staff, but new head coach Steve Pikiell appears to be making him a top priority. While recruiting New Jersey talent has been a focus for the new staff, establishing a pipeline in New York City is certainly one as well. Assistant coach Brandin Knight is well connected in the city and Rutgers needs to have success moving forward in landing top players from the Big Apple.
Alvarado is the reigning New York City Catholic High School Player of the Year and plays for traditional powerhouse Christ The King high school in Queens. The school has produced several top point guards in the past, including former NBA player Speedy Claxton and former St. John's star Erick Barkley.
His recruitment is picking up and it will be a dogfight to land the talented floor leader. The 6'0" point guard has an impressive offer list, including Indiana, Miami, VCU, Xavier, and Georgia Tech, in addition to local schools St. John's, Seton Hall, Iona, Fordham, Hofstra, and Rutgers, according to 247 sports. Alvarado is rated a 4-star recruit by ESPN and a 3-star recruit by Rivals, Scout, and 247 sports.
Alvarado appears to have the right attitude that Pikiell is looking for to help build a new culture at Rutgers. Adam Zagoria spoke to Alvarado recently in this article. Here are some highlights of what he had to say on his recruitment and his future playing college ball:
"I don't really know too much about my visits at the moment," Alvarado said. "Butler, Indiana, Seton Hall and Rutgers are all working hard though."
"Anywhere like those schools would be a great opportunity really," Alvarado said. "Hopefully trying to cut my list down before my senior season starts up."
"I'm going to ask where they see me," Alvarado said. "Do they see me at the next level? As a freshman, I'm just going to go in and work hard, because that is what is going to determine my playing time."
It is all too common these days for top recruits to expect a starting spot as a freshman as soon as they arrive on campus. Based on Alvarado's comments, he seems mentally prepared to outwork his competition at the college program he commits to.
In watching his film, Alvarado is a tough, gritty player who is drives fearlessly in the paint and has great body control near the rim. He also is a great passer and has good court vision, with the ability to make the unorthodox pass effectively. Alvarado can score in bunches and has a solid stroke from behind the arc. A big part of his game is attacking the rim with dribble penetration to get a good look at the basket or dish to an open teammate. Alvarado has great ball handling skills and can dribble out of double teams. Personally, I love old school, tough city point guards and Alvarado fits that mold. He plays with an edge that Rutgers desperately needs.
Alvarado has been playing well in recent AAU competitions with the NY Rens, a prominent program on the EYBL circuit. His profile should continue to rise this summer during the busy July schedule of national AAU tournaments. He has become a key recruit for coach Pikiell, who is looking to change the perception of Rutgers on the recruiting trail. Landing a top New York City point guard from a power high school and top AAU program would be a major score.
Although Pikiell has done fairly well with the limited time he has had recruiting for next season, landing a top local talent is a must for the 2017 class. It would set the tone for the future of the program. Getting that first commitment is always the toughest, and it appears Rutgers is going all out in pursuit of Alvarado, in hopes he will become that signature recruit. There is no telling how long Corey Sanders will play during his college career and finding his replacement in the 2017 recruiting cycle is a must. As of now, Rutgers is in play for Alvarado and that is a positive. We will continue to track Alvarado this summer and into his senior season.