The first week of September is almost complete and we are only a month or so out from practice beginning for the Rutgers men’s basketball team. While we have stayed on top of a lot of recruiting news this summer, there was plenty of other action regarding the program that took place. In an effort to catch everyone up, here is the latest RAC n’ Roll report!
Jon Rothstein Power Rankings
Noted CBS Sports scribe Jon Rothstein predictably slotted Rutgers in the last slot of his Big Ten preseason power rankings. However, the reason I am mentioning it is because he listed Geo Baker as one of ten “under the radar” freshmen in the conference this season. The word from this summer is that Baker has a chance to start early on and could make a big impact this season. Rutgers desperately needs shooters and Baker could provide instant help in this area.
Coaches Mic’d Up
While many different things have improved under head coach Steve Pikiell since his arrival almost 18 months ago, the way the program is now marketed has been very impressive. The use of video and social media has really stuck out in a positive way. One fun series the program produced this summer was a Mic’d up with various coaches during workouts. Here is a rundown of each one.
Best line: “Million dollar move, two dollar finish.”
Best line: In reference to how the gatorade was mixed that day, Young said “It’s terrible.”
Best line: “You can see the development, the difference in their attitudes and more so in their confidence.”
David Van Dyke
Best line: “I get to see people get better over time and see their bodies change. See how they are able to move better. See them get excited about getting better. The confidence that those guys get from that experience is awesome and I have the best job in the world.”
Mike Williams In Mid-Season Shooting Form
Williams has a chance to be the best three-point shooter on the roster this season and this was fun to watch!
Coach Pikiell The Ambassador
One thing that doesn’t get recognized much is how often coach Pikiell is out talking to fans, season ticket holders, etc and promoting Rutgers basketball. Here is one group that Pikiell met with in early August. He is a good speaker and always receives rave reviews from those that get to hear him talk about the program. This is very important as the rebuilding of Rutgers basketball continues.
Appreciation For Ticket Office
Last year, Pikiell delivered pizza’s to the ticket office. This year, he invited them to practice. Pretty nice gesture and cool experience for those that work hard to sell tickets for the program.
RU Leadership Program
Life for athlete’s after their college career ends is something that every coach incorporates in some way and the RU Leadership program has been around for several years. Here is a great experience that both the men’s and women’s basketball programs had earlier this summer. This type of development is not only great for the future of the student-athletes, but also a great selling point for the program.
Deshawn Freeman Gives Back
Freeman is from Rocky Mount, North Carolina and took time out this summer to help out at a recent charity event. Great to see from the captain!
Corey Sanders selected to participate in the prestigious adidas Nations basketball camp. Event runs from Aug. 3-7 in Houston, Texas. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/PEQXQr1v30— Rutgers Basketball (@RutgersMBB) August 4, 2017
Earlier this summer, Corey Sanders was invited to participate in the Adidas Nations basketball camp and he played against other college players. You can watch him in action in the video below.
Montez Mathis Commitment
I’ve covered a ton of recruiting news from the summer, but I wanted to point out one tweet from the Rutgers basketball account. Coaches can’t comment on recruits committing to the program until after they officially sign in either the fall or spring/summer. On the night that 4-star guard Montez Mathis, who appeared to be torn between Rutgers and UConn before ultimately committing to coach Pikiell, the program tweeted this soon after the news broke:
Showing Appreciation For Season Ticket Holders
The program is doing a great job of showing fans appreciation since Pikiell’s arrival and this video just highlights the latest example:
Faces In The Crowd Series
This is another new promotion the program has come up with. This is the first one released and oh look, it’s OTB emeritus contributor and Rutgers Super Fan, Scott Logan. This video is fantastic and well done!
There is a rumor another emeritus contributor will be featured at some point soon. Stay tuned!
Game of Thrones reference In Promoting Schedule
For those of you who watch and love Thrones, like I do, I thought this was a well played reference. For my breakdown of this season’s schedule, click here. Here is a full listing of Rutgers games on TV:
Pikiell Throw Out Ceremonial First Pitch
Pikiell was literally everywhere this summer and found time to promote the program at a recent Somerset Patriots game. He threw a pitch that Harry Doyle would have called a strike, but it was a solid effort nonetheless.
Pikiell Has A Mean Handle
Not surprisingly, coach showcased his skills on the court at his summer camp, as the former point guard showed how to dribble two basketballs at once. He gets some style points with the between the legs and around the back moves.
After the home court got an update before last season, going back to the traditional scarlet red along the baseline, the RAC got a recent refresh ahead of practice for the season tipping off next month.
Welcome Back To School
Classes started for Rutgers students on Tuesday and this is a great video of some of the basketball players helping freshmen move into the dorms. Pretty cool!
That’s it for the latest installment of the RAC n’ Roll Report. We will have plenty of men’s basketball coverage leading up to the November 10th opener against CCNY, including a full season preview. Opening night is only 64 days away!!!!