The Rutgers men’s basketball coaching staff continues to grind with recruiting and have pulled together an impressive group of visitors this month. Since hosting Canadian wing Eugene Omoruyi and securing his commitment soon after on August 3rd, the program has hosted a bevvy of top local recruits within the 2017, 2018, and 2019 classes.
First, they hosted four recruits from EYBL power program the NY Rens and reportedly offered Khalid Moore, Sloan Seymour, and Khalid Battle during their visit. Last week, they hosted 5-star forward Naz Reid from Roselle Catholic, making him the highest rated recruit to visit Rutgers in years. Then this past Saturday, New York City point guard Jose Alvarado visited for a second time this summer. All indications point to Alvarado being the staff’s top target in the class of 2017.
Yesterday, the impressive list of visitors continued, as two elite guards from the class of 2019 were on campus.
Andrew Slater of 247 sports points out that Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine are the second and third ranked players in the entire country for the class of 2019. The dynamic duo star on Team Rio for AAU ball and The Ranney School for high school. They have made a name for themselves since the April live recruiting period and now have impressive offer lists heading into just their sophomore scholastic seasons. They both have offers from Villanova, Maryland, Florida, Notre Dame, VCU, St. John’s, and Seton Hall, according to 247 sports. You can view their full offer lists here and here.
Rutgers offered them back in April, and watched them in action throughout the July live recruiting period. While Lewis and Antoine have hinted at the possibility of playing together in college, they still have three years of high school remaining. However, credit Rutgers for getting the elite tandem on campus before the school year begins. They also visited St. John’s last week, and while it will be extremely difficult to lure the talented guards to Rutgers for their college ball, at least the Rutgers staff is making an impression early on in their recruitment. Head coach Steve Pikiell has a couple of seasons to prove to the duo that his vision is progressing as planned.
In other recruiting news, fresh off his weekend visit to Rutgers, point guard Jose Alvarado made another visit to a New Jersey program nearby.
2017 PG @AlvaradoJose15 visited Seton Hall today after going to Rutgers Saturday— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) August 16, 2016
While Alvarado told SNY’s Adam Zagoria that his visit to Rutgers “went great”, the Christ The King and NY Rens point guard is continuing to visit other schools. He just scheduled his first official visit of his recruitment for this weekend.
With a potential visit to Syracuse looming, there should be concern that Alvarado’s recruitment is starting to pickup to the point that Rutgers will be a in a dogfight to land the gritty guard. Pikiell and the staff have done a great job of making Alvarado a top priority and he would be a perfect fit for the program. There is no doubt they will continue to grind it out, in hopes of ultimately landing the city tough floor general.
Lastly, you may remember that Rutgers offered 7’3” center Chol Marial back in July. The class of 2019 big man was playing at Cheshire Academy in Connecticut at the time, but now is reportedly on the move.
One of the nation's top 2019 prospects, 7'3" Chol Marial, will be transferring to Prolific Prep. New England is gonna miss the big fella!— Mike Yagmin (@MikeYagmiNERR) August 17, 2016
7'3" Chol Marial will be headed to Prolific Prep North coached by Ed Smith. I should've specified originally... https://t.co/Attkw6RBYy— Mike Yagmin (@MikeYagmiNERR) August 17, 2016
Yagmin refers to Ed Smith, who is also the guardian of big man Thon Maker. He was just drafted 10th in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks in June. Maker actually had passed on college and played a year of prep school ball, before meeting the age requirement to be drafted. It’s not a great development for the recruiting hopes of Rutgers to see Marial leave Cheshire Academy in Connecticut.
The bottom line though is Rutgers has hosted some elite talent in August, which was so important coming off a live recruiting period in July where they tracked so many players in future classes. It takes time for a coaching staff to make an impression at a new school, but Pikiell and his staff have done a great job of being everywhere and making their presence known. It’s going to take time for them to build credibility at Rutgers, and making progress on the court this season is crucial. For now, we should all appreciate the fact that Rutgers has hosted more talent in the past two weeks than the previous staff ever hosted in three years combined. Everything is trending in the right direction and the program is in a different universe than it was just a few months ago.