Head coach Steve Pikiell and his staff made at least a dozen offers in the past week heading into the weekend. I covered all of the recruits that Rutgers did offer in the past few days here. While building relationships and laying the groundwork for the class of 2018 and beyond is crucial, so is filling the remaining two scholarships available for next season.
Enter UConn transfer Vance Jackson, who is on campus this weekend for an official visit. While adding another sit-out transfer isn’t ideal for next season, landing a player the caliber of Jackson, who was named to the AAC All-Rookie Team and was a Top 100 recruit in the class of 2016, would be a big step forward long term. Not only would he be in line to be an impact starter the following season, Jackson would help Rutgers on the recruiting trail as well. While Pikiell has added solid pieces to the program since his arrival, landing a big name like Jackson would help to change perception and likely give certain recruits more of a reason to consider Rutgers.
Jackson sent out a tweet Saturday afternoon during his visit.
One takeaway is that it’s always a positive when a recruit/transfer candidate try on the jersey and share it on social media. Another is we now have our first look at the new Adidas uniforms for Rutgers basketball. I think the jersey looks great for next season and let’s hope it fits Jackson very well! Jackson tweeted Sunday morning that the visit went well but it looks like he is sticking to his plan of visiting Washington and Baylor in the coming weeks.
Rutgers Visit ✅— HeVantastic (@VanceJackson1) May 7, 2017
University of Washington Next‼️
In addition to Jackson visiting this weekend, Rutgers brought in a bevy of visitors Saturday by hosting five top recruits between the classes 2018 through 2020. The headliner was Jalen Carey, the 4-star point guard from the class of 18, who plays for Immaculate Conception in Montclair, New Jersey, as well as the NJ Playaz on the Nike EYBL circuit.
His teammates Justin Winston, a 3-star wing from the class of 2018, and Elijah Everett, a center from the class of 2020 that is already involved with USA Basketball, also visited. In the below picture on instagram from the Immaculate Conception team account, starting from the left, you have Winston, Carey, assistant coach Marcus Toney-El, and Everett.
While the post states all were offered scholarships yesterday, Adam Zagoria reported over a year ago that Carey and Winston picked up offers from Rutgers back then.
2018s Jalen Carey and Justin Winston of Montclair Immaculate were offered by Rutgers and St. Joe's, per @JSnjPlayaz— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 26, 2016
Either way, having these three players on campus is encouraging and it’s clear Rutgers continues to make a push for local talent. Immaculate Conception is coached by Jimmy Salmons, who also started the NJ Playaz AAU program and has been a key figure in New Jersey basketball for years. Making inroads with his programs would be a key development long term recruiting wise.
In terms of Rutgers’ chances with Carey, it didn’t help that Kansas offered the dynamic floor general yesterday. You have to think that puts them at the top of his list.
Carey has also been recruited hard by Seton Hall and has over a dozen high major offers, which 247 Sports list here. Rutgers appears to be a long shot, but getting him on campus before the summer is a positive development nonetheless.
As for Winston, according to 247 Sports, he holds offers from Pitt, Penn State, Minnesota, DePaul, Seton Hall among others, in addition to Rutgers. It will be interesting to see if Pikiell and the staff can gain any traction with Winston.
Regarding Everett, it’s obviously very early in the recruitment process for the rising sophomore. He will likely turn into a Top 25 national recruit for the class of 2020 and will have multiple high major programs to choose from. It’s a positive Rutgers offered now and work to build a relationship with him early on in the process.
The other two recruits visiting on Saturday were from the Maryland/Washington D.C. region, which is another area Rutgers has been recruiting very hard.
2019 Rock Creek Christian (MD) G Sherif Kenney has received an offer from Rutgers. https://t.co/AcEqpPor6w— Verbal Commits (@VerbalCommits) May 6, 2017
Sherif Kenney is a 6’4” shooting guard from Upper Marlboro in Maryland and according to 247 Sports, currently holds offers from Penn State, Nebraska, Boston College, South Florida, and Rhode Island among others, in addition to Rutgers.
Karim Coulibaly, a class of 2019 PF playing for New World (DC), has picked up offers from Rutgers & DePaul, per a source.— Pat Lawless (@PatLawless_) May 6, 2017
Karim Coulibaly is a 4-star post player who stands at 6’8” and holds offers from DePaul, Boston College, St. John’s, Tulane, and South Florida. Having both Coulibaly and Kenney visit demonstrates how well organized the Rutgers staff is in their recruiting efforts.
They are balancing a lot at once and doing a good job of creating optimism for the future. When recruits see other top players visiting and interested in Rutgers, it creates a buzz and gives them more reason to consider taking a chance on the program. There is a long way to go in the recruitment of all five players that visited yesterday, but it’s a positive sign to see the Rutgers staff getting these recruits on campus at the same time.
The state of recruiting for Rutgers basketball has never been more interesting, in my opinion. In the past ten days alone, the program has made a dozen offers to recruits from multiple classes, then hosted an additional five players, offering them all. This took place at the same time that they were hosting UConn transfer Vance Jackson. The staff is relentless in their approach and have done a good job of targeting areas in New England and Washington D.C., all while staying in the mix of local recruits from New York and New Jersey. It has been fascinating to watch the Rutgers staff work on the recruiting trail this offseason and the summer hasn’t even begun. Expect plenty of action to continue, as coach Pikiell and the staff work towards filling out next season’s roster, as well as building towards a strong 2018 recruiting class.