With preseason practice beginning on Friday, head coach Steve Pikiell and his staff continue to be active in recruiting. The Rutgers men’s basketball program hosted several recruits last weekend during the football game against Iowa.
Key Rutgers hoops recruits at today's tailgate: Hudson Catholic junior Louis King, St Ben's senior Bourama Sidibe and frosh Noah Farrakhan.— Jerry Carino (@NJHoopsHaven) September 24, 2016
All three players that Jerry Carino mentioned are from different recruiting classes and play different positions. Let’s take a look each player who visited and where Rutgers stands in their recruitment.
Rutgers has definitely elevated their efforts in recruiting King, who visited the program for the first time earlier this month. The class of 2018 forward is rated a 5-star recruit by 247 sports and rated as the 30th best player in the class of 2018 by ESPN. Rutgers has offered the entire “Fab Five” of Sports U, which includes Naz Reid, Luther Muhammad, Jahvon Quinerly, and Atiba Taylor. While Reid and Quinerly have made visits to campus in the past few weeks, King is the first to make a second visit and the fact it’s twice in one month is encouraging.
The talented forward also plays with Muhammad and Quinerly at Hudson Catholic and Rutgers was there yesterday, according to SNY’s Adam Zagoria, watching all three players. Rutgers has been involved with the trio for awhile, as has local rivals Seton Hall and St. John’s. The Hall is pursuing King hard as well. This is at least the second time Rutgers has visited King at his high school this month as well.
Indiana, Rutgers, Villanova, Notre Dame and St. Peter's are all at @Hudson_Bball for their Big 3— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) September 28, 2016
There are no shortage of suitors for King’s services and while his offer list is already a who’s who of college basketball, the number of programs recruiting him continue to grow.
According to 247 Sports, King has received visits from Rick Pitino of Louisville, Mark Turgeon of Maryland, and coaches from Kentucky in the last week alone. According to SNY’s Adam Zagoria, King is set to visit Maryland and UConn in October. I totally understand the skepticism in Rutgers having any shot for King, but getting him on campus twice in September is something. Don’t expect coach Pikiell or the staff to back down. They will continue to stay on King’s trail throughout the season. Hopefully, King, as well as other members of the “Fab Five”, will attend some home games at the RAC this winter.
Sidibe is a 6’9” forward in the class of 2017 that is considered a Syracuse lean and holds double digit high major offers. He is a shot blocking machine and is a strong finisher in the paint. According to 247 Sports, Oklahoma State, Seton Hall, UConn, and Syracuse have all visited the talented big man this month. Despite the steep competition, it’s impressive Rutgers was able to get Sidibe on campus for the Iowa game. While they might not be a favorite to ultimately land him, establishing a relationship with New Jersey Prep power St. Benedict’s is a smart move.
Nicknamed “the Don”, the freshman on St. Benedict’s is an intriguing prospect who is obviously still developing his game. He also plays for AAU power the NJ Playaz and it’s great to see Rutgers involved so early in his recruitment. The versatile point guard could become one of the most highly coveted guards in the country for the class of 2020. Pikiell and the staff continue to plant seeds with future classes more than a couple of years out.
After losing out on Jose Alvarado in the class of 2017, the Rutgers staff continue to pound the recruiting trail. Focusing on much of the elite talent that is featured locally in future classes has been a smart maneuver. Some would even say it would be crazy not to be and that would be correct. However, it’s important to realize how far the program was set back with recruiting by the previous coaching regime. Much in the same manner that progress will be made on the court, there are many fundamental steps that have been in major need of fixing or improving by the new staff. Pikiell is doing that, but these things take time. Without a doubt, Rutgers is handling themselves on the recruiting trail far better than the program has experienced in quite some time. For now, that is something to be positive about. It’s time for Pikiell to prove he can coach in the Big Ten and make progress on the court. If he and the staff continue to be organized and smart in their approach, as well as show the team is headed in the right direction on the court, results on the recruiting trail will follow.
In fact Rutgers has virtually the entire St. Ben's team here, which is shrewd.— Jerry Carino (@NJHoopsHaven) September 24, 2016