We interrupt Rutgers football training camp with big news for Rutgers Basketball this afternoon. The highest rated player in New Jersey from the class of 2018 and unanimous top ten player in the country, Naz Reid, is currently on campus per this report.
It’s not everyday you have a player of Reid’s caliber on campus and it’s a major step for head coach Steve Pikiell to have gotten him to visit the RAC. The 6’11 power forward from Roselle Catholic and Sports U is a highly skilled big man at such a young age. He is a tremendous passer and is strong enough of a ball handler to lead the fast break in transition. He has a college ready frame and is supremely talented. He may be a bit raw in a few areas, but his potential is sky high.
Entering his junior year, he is already being courted by elite college basketball programs. According to ESPN, who ranks Reid the #4 player in the country in the class of 2018, Reid holds offers from Kansas, Villanova, Syracuse, UConn, Oklahoma, Iowa, Maryland, Louisville, and Virginia, to name a few. Of course, Kentucky and head coach John Calipari are lingering as well and have visited Reid previously, according to 247 sports.
The rest of the college basketball world will easily dismiss Reid’s visit to Rutgers as a convenient summer field trip. However, Reid just told SNY’s Adam Zagoria last week that he had no upcoming visits scheduled. So Rutgers is pushing hard, and actually getting him to visit so quickly after the July live recruiting period is encouraging. The Rutgers staff tracked Sports U early and often last month, as they have offered the entire “Fab Five” from one of the elite AAU teams on the Nike EYBL circuit. One thing is for certain though, Reid is the crown jewel of that highly talented group.
There is time for Pikiell to show Reid the program is on an upward trajectory by making progress on the court next season. There is also no understating the tremendous relationship that Pikiell has with Reid’s high school coach, Dave Boff. The development of former Boff pupil Jameel Warney, Pikiell’s star player at Stony Brook, is a perfect example to prove to Reid the Rutgers staff can help him develop his game to the best of his abilities under their tutelage. Whether Reid plans to only play 1-2 years of college basketball or not, if he has a desire to stay local, Rutgers is now a legitimate destination for Reid under Pikiell. Of course, Seton Hall and St. John’s are recruiting Reid hard as well. However, he can get firsthand information on the Rutgers program from former high school teammate Matt Bullock, who was Pikiell’s first commitment on the banks and will be a freshman this season.
Sure, Rutgers is a long shot to ultimately land Reid, but getting him on campus before his junior season was a necessary step in order to have any real chance. How often the staff can get Reid back on campus in the coming year, including for home games during the season, will be something to watch for. For now, as the dog days of August are in full swing, appreciate the fact that one of the best players in the country is at the RAC visiting Rutgers basketball. That is progress alone.