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Rutgers Basketball Set To Host Two Top 2019 Recruits

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The staff continues to get key targets on campus.

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

With the live evaluation period for college basketball recruiting beginning on July 12th, now is a critical time to get key targets on campus. Head coach Steve Pikiell and the staff hosted a large group of recruits last Saturday, including 4-star point guard Jalen Carey. The program remains busy this week, as two top recruits in the class of 2019 are set to visit.

Corey Evans of Rivals reported that 4-star wing Ismael Massoud is set to visit Rutgers on Wednesday.

Massoud plays on the New England Prep circuit at the MacDuffie School in Massachusetts. However, he is from the Bronx and plays for AAU power PSA Cardinals, who play on the Nike EYBL circuit. The wiry wing has picked up a lot of high major offers since the spring, including Xavier, Wake Forest, and Minnesota, among others. Rutgers offered him back in early May, which I covered here. The 6’7” Massoud needs to put on weight before playing at the next level, but there seems little doubt he is a high major prospect whose game is still evolving. Mike Yagmin of the New England Recruiting Report recently named Massoud a stock riser in this article on the class of 2019 and said this:

“There are stretches in games where Massoud looks like a top-20 player in the national class of 2019. There is zero hyperbole in that statement. Whether it was during the 2016 Elite 75 Frosh/Soph, during MacDuffie’s appearance at BasketBull this past season, or with PSA’s 16U squad, I can vividly recall a handful of those stretches. Massoud packs the skillset of an elite point guard into the frame of an elite wing (6’7” with a 6’11” wingspan) with the natural ability to average 20-8-8 over the course of a full NEPSAC season. His motor needs to improve along with his motivation to dominate on both ends and he genuinely has to embrace the responsibility that comes with being the best player on the floor at any given time. There’s no doubt in my mind that Massoud’s desire to be great is there. The coaching staffs at Xavier, Saint Louis, Rutgers and Wake Forest obviously see the same thing and hopped in the mix for Massoud’s future services this spring.”

Massoud ranks as the 5th best player in the region for the class of 2019, per the New England Recruiting Report. Aside from Massoud, Rutgers has been recruiting other top ten players in the region, including the top two ranked prospects, Chol Marial and Taelon Martin, as well as Akok Akok and Charles Coleman. I’ve mentioned before how valuable it could be to the rebuilding effort of the program if Rutgers can establish a consistent pipeline of recruits from the New England Prep circuit. Incoming freshman Geo Baker is hopefully just the start. Credit the staff for being in the mix and getting Massoud on campus before his stock potentially blows up during the July live recruiting period.

Andrew Slater of 247 Sports reported that another talented 2019 prospect, Eric Dixon, is scheduled to visit Rutgers on Thursday.

The 6’7” forward just missed the cut for the Under-16 US National Team, as he made it all the way to the final group of 16 players, before the roster was trimmed to 12. The 3-star big man holds offers from Georgetown, Oklahoma State, and Penn State, according to 247 Sports. Rutgers did so back in early May, which I covered here. Dixon was named Second Team All-State in Pennsylvania last season as a sophomore at Abington high school and he was the only non-senior to be named to either of the first two teams. He averaged 19.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. While he is known for his touch near the rim, Dixon has been working on his jump shot, which was showcased in this tweet.

Just to clarify, I haven’t seen Dixon ranked in the top 25 in the 2019 class by any recruiting services. However, he is a rising star in his class and should garner more interest after the July live period. He is an intriguing player for Rutgers to be involved with and it’s a positive step getting him on campus this week.

I’ll have a full preview ahead of the July evaluation period and cover more targets in the class of 2019 soon. The news of Rutgers hosting two top prospects in this class is just another example of the work they are putting in on the recruiting trail. The amount of offers they have out there in both the 2018 and 2019 classes have put them in a solid position to land talented players in the near future. Also, the search to fill the last roster spot for next season continues, as Vance Jackson is no longer an option. Expect the staff to focus on the graduate transfer market, but they continue to impress by getting so many highly rated recruits on campus. While a lot of progress still needs to be made, recruiting for the program has certainly been more interesting and exciting than it has been in a very long time.