The Rutgers men’s basketball program have been making a surprising run at adding a couple of players to the roster for next season, hosting Canadian wing Eugene Omoruyi and Baylor grad transfer center Chad Rykhoek. However, the coaching staff still has one eye on the future as well, as they hosted four local players yesterday from local AAU powerhouse the NY Rens.
Rutgers is also hosting @Renshoops 2018's Khalid Moore, Sloan Seymour, Malik Martin and 2019 Khalif Battle today.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) August 2, 2016
The NY Rens featured point guard Jose Alvarado this past summer, who is still being heavily pursued by Rutgers. This program was a top performer on the Nike EYBL circuit and it’s a wise move by head coach Steve Pikiell to make an effort on the future of the Rens program.
Khalid Moore is a shooting guard for legendary New York City high school Archbishop Molloy, who have a long history of elite guards coming out of their program, including former NBA veterans Kenny Smith and Kenny Anderson, as well as former Louisville guard Russ Smith. During Moore’s sophomore season, he earned All-Queens honorable mention and is expected to be a key part of the resurgence of the Molloy program next season, which also features rising star Cole Anthony from the class of 2019.
Sloan Seymour is a 6’7 wing who plays his high school ball for Christian Brothers Academy in Albany, New York. He is a fundamentally sound shooter who has three-point range and a frame he is still growing into.
Malik Martin is a another wing player from Curtis high school in Staten Island, and is known for his defense and transition offense. His brother is Hassan Martin, who has been a key player for Danny Hurley at Rhode Island the past three years. Hurley already offered the younger Martin, so it will be interesting to see how his recruitment transpires.
Khalif Battle also has a well known brother in basketball circles, as his brother Tyus was an elite recruit who will be a freshman at Syracuse this coming season. Khalif is just a rising sophomore and played with his brother last season at St. Joseph’s of Metuchen. The combo guard is just one of many class of 2019 players from New Jersey making a name for themselves within recruiting circles, led by the Team Rio and Ranney School duo of Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine, who both already hold offers from Rutgers. After yesterday’s visit, add Battle to that list.
Credit Pikiell and the staff for not being timid when targeting the top players in New Jersey for the class of 2019. It’s easy to say Rutgers has little chance once these players become seniors and likely have multiple high major offers, including a high probability that elite programs will be involved in their recruitment. However, Rutgers has time on their side to hopefully make progress on the court and show these top recruits the program is on it’s way up. Another interesting development with Battle is his choice of school for next season.
Playing at Roselle Catholic for head coach Dave Boff is both a positive for Battle’s development, and because of the great relationship Pikiell has with Boff. He turned former Roselle Catholic player Jameel Warney into a superstar at Stony Brook and is fighting for a spot in the NBA right now. In addition, Pikiell’s first recruit to commit at Rutgers was Matt Bullock, the all-state guard who starred at Roselle Catholic for four seasons. It can only help Pikiell to build a relationship with Battle, who should see his recruitment from other power five programs increase in a big way this next year. Good for Rutgers to be the first to offer him. Here are highlights from his freshman season.
The coaching staff continues to be tenacious in recruiting and are well organized in their plan of attack. Landing a player like Geo Baker was a big score early on in the class of 2017 cycle. While the pursuit of others in that class continue, like Alvarado, the staff is doing a great job of setting a foundation in recruiting future classes. Showing progress on the court this season will be a necessity in building credibility with the elite recruits they are pursuing in the 2018 & 2019 classes.