It was a busy first week of the live recruiting period for the Rutgers men’s basketball coaching staff. They tracked and watched more than a dozen prospects in various states and tournaments. The staff also offered a pair of forwards who are teammates on the AAU team Atlanta Express. For a full update on all of the activity of the coaching staff from last week, click here.
It turns out there was a third offer made by the staff, which was announced on twitter this afternoon.
Cheshire Academy (CT) Chol Marial has been offered by Rutgers University.— Kevin Kehoe (@KevinKehoeCA) July 11, 2016
Kevin Kehoe is the head coach at Cheshire Academy where Marial goes to school. The 7’3” center is a class of 2019 recruit and was offered after Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell watched him play with his AAU team the Connecticut Basketball Club.
Based on the tweet above, head coaches from UConn, Boston College, Rhode Island, LaSalle, Boston University, and Vermont also watched Marial play this weekend. Pikiell and Rutgers were the first of this group to offer Marial, wasting little time on targeting the rising sophomore. According to 247 sports, Marial has received offers from Iowa, Florida State, West Virginia, and St. John’s previously, so he is already on the radar of several high major programs.
In this article on Marial back in February, Kehoe compared his center to a college legend:
“When I first watched a video of Chol, I was trying to draw comparisons,” Kehoe said. “I was thinking about what kid I could compare him to, as far as college prospects. There have been a lot of 7-foot kids. The only one I could draw on was Ralph Sampson because of the way the kid ran the floor and moved.”
“What it boils down to is Chol’s got the gifts of a Sampson, of people well beyond the average NBA player. I think the bottom line is he has a ceiling to become one of the top NBA players to play in his era. If you’re one of the top players of your era, where do you end up? In Springfield (Basketball Hall of Fame).”
Marial transferred to Cheshire Academy from Arlington Country Day School in Jacksonville, Florida. That is the same school that recent Rutgers commit and incoming freshman Issa Thiam attended. Marial is a native of the Sudan and hoping to follow in the NBA footsteps of fellow countrymen Manute Bol and Luol Deng. However, he needs bulk up his 7’3” frame considerably before he enters college, but that is still three years away.
With that being said, the sky is the limit for the talented big man. You can’t teach height. From the same article, Kehoe describes Marial as a player who also has a strong work ethic and has a high basketball IQ. It is key for a player that just began playing basketball in 2013 to continue to push himself to learn and develop his skills. Playing for a veteran coach like Kehoe is a good situation for him to do so.
Credit coach Pikiell for finding time this weekend to watch Marial and make him an offer so quickly. With three open scholarships for the class of 2017, Pikiell and his staff have a lot of work to do. However, keeping a clear eye on the future and entering the recruitment process early for players in the class of 2019 could pay off down the road. Who knows how high Marial will climb up the recruiting rankings in the future? Either way, Rutgers is in the mix early for a potential elite recruit for the class of 2019.
Watch this video of Marial in AAU action this past spring.