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Takeaways From Naz Reid Including Rutgers In His Final 10

There were some notable programs who didn’t make the cut.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Northwestern vs Rutgers Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The dream is still alive for Rutgers fans, as 5-star big man Naz Reid from the class of 2018 announced on social media last night his final list of ten schools that he is considering. While it’s not shocking Rutgers made his final ten, it is certainly encouraging. Especially, when you consider the schools that Reid did eliminate from consideration.

Here are a few takeaways on Naz Reid’s recruitment picking up:

St. John’s Eliminated

This is a pretty big surprise, as some considered St. John’s in the best position of the local trio that includes Seton Hall and Rutgers. In fact, 247 Sports still lists an even split for Reid’s services between the Johnnies and Kentucky. Head coach Chris Mullin made Reid a priority and assistant coach Matt Abdelmassih was reportedly very active in recruiting him. While most will still doubt Rutgers has much of a chance to land Reid, at least they are still in consideration. It’s harder for the haters to say they are a finalist only due to a nod for being local after he cut the Johnnies.

Maryland & Syracuse Out Too

While it’s not as stunning as the news St. John’s is out of contention, seeing these two heavyweights cut as well was also surprising. Maryland seemed to be in hot pursuit and some thought were in good position to ultimately be the frontrunner, if Kentucky fails to offer Reid (editor’s note: Kentucky hasn’t yet, but have visited Reid multiple times). Syracuse has had a rough week on the recruiting trail, as top recruits Jahvon Quinerly, Cam Reddish, and Reid all eliminated them from their final lists in the past week. And Big East power Villanova didn’t even make Reid’s top ten. That’s something and the more Rutgers is being considered by top recruits ahead of these caliber of programs, the slow roll of changing perception for the better continues to move forward.

I’m Telling You Rutgers Has A Chance

I think there are several factors at play that give Rutgers a puncher’s chance to ultimately land Reid.

  • Steve Pikiell has a great relationship with Roselle Catholic head coach Dave Boff.
  • One of Reid’s best friends is Rutgers guard Matt Bullock.
  • It’s been rumored that Reid may prefer to stay local.
  • Since Pikiell took over, Rutgers has focused on Reid & he has visited campus multiple times. Reid has said previously he hears from the staff almost every day.
  • Reid will get top billing and will be marketed like crazy if he comes to Rutgers. He will be one of several 5-star recruits at a Kentucky or Kansas and fight for a starting spot.

I’m not saying Rutgers is in great shape, as they never are once the big boys of college basketball get involved. The reality is if Kentucky does offer, it will be hard for Reid to turn down. However, I think all of those factors just mentioned gives Rutgers a legitimate chance to land Reid. Trust and building relationships are key in recruiting and Rutgers has a favorable view in that regard. Boff trusts Pikiell and his development of former Roselle Catholic star and Stony Brook legend Jameel Warney is exhibit A. Pikiell and assistant Jay Young will truly invest in his development, while Reid is simply a statistic at a national power. There isn’t vested interest at other schools like there would be with Pikiell and Rutgers.

Having Bullock in the program gives Reid a greater comfort zone and also firsthand knowledge on what life is like at Rutgers. If Reid wants to be the man wherever he goes, I think it’s safe to say Rutgers and Seton Hall are the two programs that will promote him the most. At the Hall he could be a star. At Rutgers, he could become a legend and the forefather of success that the program could experience in the future under Pikiell. Cue the clip:

It won’t be easy and Reid hasn’t shared any timeline for his decision. Whether he cuts down his list even more towards the end of the summer and when he plans to make a decision are questions yet to be answered. As Reid should, he is seems to be fully exploring his options.

Despite his high ranking, Reid needs to continue to develop his game before taking the fast track to the NBA. He is likely to turn pro after 1-2 years of college ball. After having an up and down junior season at Roselle Catholic, there have been signs this spring on the AAU circuit that he is turning a corner and becoming a more complete player. He received rave reviews for his recent performances.

I understand the Anderson Cooper-like eye rolls that longtime Rutgers fans will make when reading this article. It’s a tale that has been told for generations. Rutgers basketball has a legitimate chance for the local star, makes the final list, only to miss out in the end. I’ve bled plenty over the years and anyone aged 35 or over is likely still haunted by the recruitment of longtime NBA veteran Tim Thomas. I get it, especially with Kentucky looming. Landing a 5-star recruit and consensus top 15 player in the class of 2018 wouldn’t be a recruiting coup for Rutgers, it would be a revolution. Today, the dream is still alive and that fact alone can only help open the eyes of other recruits considering Rutgers. That is a great thing and while some will disregard the importance of being included in Reid’s top ten, I call it progress.