When I first heard the news that former 4* and Texas PG Jacob Young had committed to Rutgers, it reminded me of some other former Rutgers transfers.
Young fits the mold of a specific type of transfer that Rutgers has had moderate success with: He was highly recruited out of high school and played two years at a Power 5 conference team, but didn’t quite make the impact and get the playing time he hoped for.
Looking for a fresh start and new opportunity, Young will sit out the 2018-2019 season before having two years to play as a Scarlet Knight.
Here is a look at how three former Rutgers players who followed that similar path fared during their time at Rutgers:
As a recruit: 4 Stars, 95th overall from Mount Vernon, NY
Before Rutgers: Mitchell played under Billy Donovan at Florida, where he was a member of their 2007 National Championship team. However, he played sparingly, averaging 2.3 PPG with only 1 start in 65 games. He found himself behind another wing, Chandler Parsons, on the depth chart and left to find more playing time.
At Rutgers: Mitchell played two seasons (from 2009 – 2011) and averaged 13.1 PPG while starting all 64 games during his time at Rutgers. As a senior, he was Rutgers leading scorer, averaging 14.4 PPG. His most memorable moment came when Rutgers was down 9 points with two minutes left against #10 Villanova at the RAC. After a series of huge shots from him and teammates James Beatty and Dane Miller, Mitchell hit a game-winning 4 point play at the buzzer to complete the unlikely comeback. He has gone on to have a successful pro career internationally, playing for several overseas teams.
As a recruit: 5 stars, 19th overall from Washington, DC
Before Rutgers: Judge came to Kansas State as a McDonalds All-American, known as an explosive dunker. He played two seasons for Frank Martin but never really lived up to that All-American potential. He averaged 4.0 PPG in 53 games (17 starts), before leaving the Kansas State program mid-year. After seeking a transfer to be closer to home, he wound up choosing Rutgers over Maryland.
At Rutgers: Judge played from 2012 – 2014, averaging 7.3 PPG, 5.3 Rebounds and 0.9 blocks. While a bit inconsistent, his biggest game came in his first season with Rutgers during the 2013 Big East Tournament. Judge was a perfect 9-9 from the field with 20 points and 10 rebounds to get Rutgers a win against DePaul. He started 59 of his 62 games at Rutgers and was a solid contributor, but didn’t have leave the lasting mark that some had hoped for based on his recruiting hype.
As a Recruit: 3 stars, N/A overall from Upper Marlboro, MD
Before Rutgers: Johnson played two seasons at Kansas State, averaging 4.6 PPG in 64 games and 7 starts
At Rutgers: Nigel originally committed to Eddie Jordan, who he had a prior relationship with from his time playing AAU ball. However, he would never get to play for Eddie as Steve Pikiell was hired ahead of Nigel’s first year eligible. In his one season at Rutgers, Nigel averaged 11.3 PPG, primarily as a 6th man, but started 13 games for the Knights. He was an effective scorer, but looking at the potential of a crowded backcourt with Corey Sanders, Geo Baker, and Mike Williams, he made the decision to become a graduate transfer for Virginia this past season. He averaged 4.9 points, 1.6 assists, and 1.6 rebounds in 16.5 minutes per contest, while missing three games due to a suspension for a violation of team rules.
As a recruit: 4 stars, 106th overall from Houston, TX
Before Rutgers: Young played two seasons at Texas, averaging 4.9 PPG in 63 games and 10 starts. Much like the three players mentioned above, he showed flashes of his potential, but never truly cracked the Texas rotation until the last month of his career. It did appear he was coming on as of late, scoring 29 points in the Big 12 tournament against Texas Tech, his second-to-last game as a Longhorn.
At Rutgers: Overall, Young’s background is very similar to players that Rutgers has had success with in the past. While it’s impossible to predict what his role will eventually be, it’s likely that he’ll have an opportunity to start at Point Guard for two years. Looking at how players from similar situations have fared, it seems reasonable to expect him to get meaningful minutes, whether as a starter or as a change-of-pace scoring option off the bench.
Rutgers now has 12 of its 13 scholarships filled and with only one senior on the roster (Shaq Doorson), Young will also have the benefit of a year of practice with the teammates he will join for the 2019-2020 season. It remains to be seen how the team will develop, but hard not to feel optimistic about how the roster will shape up looking at this year’s highly-rated recruiting class and further development of underclassmen like Geo Baker.
For a Texas perspective on Jacob Young, click here.
(Editor’s Note: Peter Kiss is also a transfer player on the current roster. He sat out last season and has three years of eligibility remaining, beginning next season. He was an unrated recruit out of high school, but was named to the MAAC All-Freshman Team at Quinnipiac. To read on how we project Kiss as a future contributor, click here.)