The recruiting momentum continues to build for head coach Steve Pikiell and his staff, as they host highly sought after JUCO big man, Shaq Carter, on Friday.
Carter averaged 9.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in 22.1 minutes per game in his first year at Eastern Florida State College last season. The 6’9”, 240 pound power forward, shot 57% from the floor in 37 games. He helped lead his team to the JUCO national championship game, where they lost to powerhouse Hutchinson CC in Kansas, the same program that current Rutgers captain Deshawn Freeman formerly played at. Carter led Eastern Florida State College in scoring in the title game, posting 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting from the floor, while grabbing 8 boards and swiping 2 steals.
Coming out of Zion Lutheran High in Deerfield, Florida, Carter averaged 15 points and 6 rebounds his senior season.
According to 24/7 Sports, Carter holds high major offers from Xavier, Auburn, Iowa State, LSU, Memphis, Purdue, Washington State, Rutgers, as well as mid-major power Wichita State. In addition to Carter visiting Rutgers this weekend, he has announced plans to also visit Xavier on September 22nd. No other scheduled visits have been announced yet.
Steve Pikiell and the staff have been recruiting Carter for a long time and he told Matt Agnoli of 24/7 Sports that he received an offer last September. I mentioned Carter during the July live period as a possibility to visit the program in the future. Credit the staff for getting him on campus before the school year begins. He drew a lot of attention this summer at various JUCO events and his stock is likely to rise in his second season at Eastern Florida State College.
While technically Rutgers doesn’t have an open scholarship at the moment, with Mamadou Doucoure already reportedly enrolled and having Montez Mathis, Mac McClung, and Ron Harper Jr. verbally committed in the 2018 class, it makes perfect sense for the staff to continue to recruit. Roster attrition, aside from players graduating, is a reality in the college game today, as hundreds of transfers were accounted for in Division I after this past season. That isn’t meant to imply anyone on the current roster will leave unexpectedly, but as Pikiell has proven early on in his tenure, he and the staff are well organized and have contingency plans for everything. Carter told Agnoli that he plans to wait to make a decision until after this season, so that timeline works perfectly for Rutgers if a roster spot does eventually open up.
By recruiting Carter, as well as 2018 big man Warren Washington, who is expected to visit next weekend, it’s obvious Rutgers are prioritizing a frontcourt player, if a spot does become available. With Freeman and Candido Sa set to graduate after this season, the program will only have Myles Johnson, Doucoure, Eugene Omoruyi, and oft injured Shaq Doorson set to return the following year.
Rutgers is winding down their most productive month on the recruiting trail in years by hosting one of the best JUCO players in the country in Carter. After landing a highly rated 2018 class already, which has allowed them to focus on the 2019 class, the staff have hosted several top ranked recruits throughout August. If you ever wondered how a big time college basketball program recruits well, Steve Pikiell is showing how it’s done. The question of whether he could recruit at a high major level has been answered this summer and there are legitimate signs that this is just the beginning.
Here are highlights of Carter from his first JUCO season.