PISCATAWAY — A familiar face was back at the Rutgers Athletic Center soaking in Saturday’s Garden State Hardwood Classic.
Myles Mack, the Scarlet Knights point guard from 2011-2015, sat courtside at the RAC for Rutgers’ 71-65 upset of No. 15 Seton Hall alongside former teammate Malick Kone. He’s back in the United States recovering from a foot injury he sustained playing for Turów Zgorzelec, his professional team in Poland.
He faced the Pirates six times in his collegiate career, splitting the series 3-3, but the 69th edition of the rivalry may have been the nicest he’s seen.
“Matched up about the same (to the ones I played in), maybe even higher intensity,” Mack said. “These guys are out there giving it their all tonight. Corey (Sanders) played hard, he led those guys and they fought through the adversity and came through with a win. So I applaud those guys for playing hard and giving coach all they got.”
Sanders led the Scarlet Knights with 22 points on the day, including a number of big shots down the stretch. The point guard recently became the 42nd player in program history to reach the 1,000 career point mark, the first guard to hit the milestone since … Mack in 2014.
Sanders, the highest ranked recruit to come to Rutgers out of high school since Mack, impressed the point guard he succeeded on the Banks.
“He’s just getting better every year,” Mack said. “Every time I see him play, he’s getting better. Every game, he’s getting better. He’s out there playing his best, being a great leader.”
The pair never took the court together, but Mack shared the RAC floor with another guard on the current Rutgers roster.
Senior Mike Williams played with Mack for one season in 2014 when Williams was a freshman. After Williams put in a hard-fought shift, including a crucial free throw and game-sealing rebound down the stretch, he shared an embrace with Mack.
“His last Seton Hall rivalry (game) was my first one. It didn’t go the way we planned it,” Williams said. “He said ‘you finally got one, Mike. You got to treasure this moment because moments like this don’t happen too often.’ And he’s right.”
Mack now returns to rehabbing his injury, but not before leaving one lasting thought on his return to Piscataway.
“The RAC is back, baby,” he said.