The Rutgers men’s basketball coaching staff have been recruiting up a storm the past couple of months. This week they hosted multiple players and landed a big commitment with class of 2016 wing Eugene Omoruyi. The staff have done a tremendous job so early on in their tenure, both in improving the roster next season and laying a solid recruiting foundation for the future. However, another visitor this week that could have potentially helped this coming season ended up committing elsewhere last night.
COMMITTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS !— Chad Rykhoek (@chadunocinco) August 6, 2016
Very grateful for the opportunity
Can't wait to be a TIGER !
GOD IS GOOD !! pic.twitter.com/wUSsWJnyUR
The graduate transfer from Baylor visited Memphis directly after his trip to Rutgers and made his decision shortly after. While the 6’11” center would have provided additional depth next season at Rutgers, he has been plagued by injuries his entire career. How much Rykhoek would have helped next season would have been a major question mark. While it is true you can never have enough big men, this is not a major loss in my opinion. The staff landing the physical and defensive minded Omoruyi was much more important to both next season and the long term future of the roster.
In regards to the class of 2017, Rutgers lost a point guard target they recently offered during the July live recruiting period.
The point guard from Las Vegas, who plays for high school power Bishop Gorman, had recently stated that Rutgers was pursuing him hard. However, BYU had been involved with him for longer and had emerged as the favorite before Rutgers even offered him. PoPoola appeared to be a backup plan to New York City point guard Jose Alvarado, who Rutgers has seriously pursued since the staff was assembled in April.
It’s never fun to lose recruiting battles, but credit the staff for even being in the mix so late in the process for both players. With the recent commitment of class of 2017 combo guard Geo Baker, Rutgers still has one scholarship remaining as of now. After adding Omoruyi, head coach Steve Pikiell now has eleven scholarship players to work with for next season. Since the July live period concluded, Rutgers has gotten better by adding both players to the program.
There will always be ups and downs in recruiting, but Rutgers landing Baker and Omoruyi was ultimately more important wins than the losses of PoPoola and Rykhoek. The past few months have made it pretty clear that the future of the program is being led by the right coach, and there is reason to believe there will be more wins than losses in the future, both on the court and in recruiting.