With practice for the season officially set to begin later this month, the Rutgers men’s basketball program is working hard to close out a strong 2022 recruiting class.
Last week, 247 Sports updated their individual and composite rankings for the 2022 class. Four prospects with 4-star ratings and ranked in the top 111 have either taken or are scheduled to take official visits to the program.
Chris Bunch is a 4-star wing that 247 Sports ranks No. 58 in the 2022 class and lists No. 72 in their composite rankings comprised of several recruiting services. He has seen a sizable jump up the rankings after a strong showing this summer on the AAU circuit. He has already taken official visits to Rutgers, Syracuse and Washington.
He is now set to take a second official visit to Rutgers and Syracuse. Both schools visited him last week per Jake Weingarten. They both appear to be in hot pursuit of the 6’7” wing from California. He also holds offers from over a dozen more high major programs including Alabama, Illinois, Minnesota, Florida State, USC, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Seton Hall, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Maryland,, Creighton, Iowa State, and South Carolina.
Bunch recently transferred from De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif., to the Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah, which is one of the top prep schools nationally. He will take his second official visit to Rutgers the first weekend of October which coincides with the football team hosting Ohio State. Pikiell and staff will also host commit Braedon Moore that weekend. Bunch is a perfect fit for the program with his position versatility, three-point shooting and ability to play both ends of the floor.
Favour Aire is a 4-star center that is ranked No. 97 in the 2022 class by 247 Sports and No. 108 in their composite rankings. The 6’11” big man plays for Bishop McNamara and lives in District Heights, Maryland. The competition to land Aire is fierce as Maryland, Georgetown, Ohio State, Indiana, Louisville, LSU, Georgia, Pitt and Virginia Tech are the other high majors to have offered him.
Aire made an official visit to Rutgers on Labor Day weekend, which followed a previous unofficial visit this past summer.
RU assistant Karl Hobbs is leading Aire’s recruitment and has strong ties to the D.C. area. Adding another athletic big man alongside former Top 50 recruit Cliff Omoruyi would pose real problems for opponents in the future.
The third 4-star recruit in the class of 2022 that Rutgers is hosting for an official visit is point guard Desmond Claude. The 6’5” floor general is actually listed as a high 3-star and ranked No. 122 by 247 Sports, but is a 4-star and is listed at No. 103 per their composite rankings.
Claude is from New Haven, Connecticut and plays for Putnam Science Academy. Rutgers offered him over the summer. Dushawn London reported the week of October 4th he is expected to be on campus for an official visit. He previously visited RU unofficially over the summer and also has official visits planned for Xavier and Marquette. Claude also holds offers from Maryland, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Boston College, Creighton, Butler, Providence, and Seton Hall among others.
Assistant TJ Thompson is leading his recruitment for the New England point guard. While Rutgers already has a commitment from another point guard in Derek Simpson, their games are different. Like Simpson, Claude did have a tremendous summer and most of his offers have come in the past couple of months. He stood out playing for Expressions Elite on the EYBL circuit. Also of note, Claude’s mother played at Syracuse and his father played at Fairfield.
Speaking of Simpson, he still remains unranked but the 6’2” prospect continues to make waves this summer. Playing in South Jersey for a public high school has kept him off the radar of many recruiting services during the global pandemic COVID-19. He was still a Third Team All-State selection by the media last season. As this clip below shows from Josh Verlin, Simpson gives Rutgers fans plenty to be excited about.
Pikiell has likely two more spots to fill after Moore and Simpson with Geo Baker, Ralph Agee and Luke Nathan entering their final year of eligibility along with Ron Harper Jr. and Caleb McConnell playing in their traditional senior season. As we saw with the transfer portal this offseason, you never truly know how many scholarships will be available for the following season.
Bobi Klintman is from Sweden and is rated a 4-star wing by 247 Sports but doesn’t have a composite ranking yet. He is down to a final six of Kansas, Loyola, Maryland, Rutgers, Texas A&M and Virginia. Matt Agnoli of Scarlet Nation reported on Wednesday night that 6’8” Klintman is visit Rutgers this weekend making him the fourth class is 2022 4-star taking an official visit of late.
The coaching staff continues to be involved with many intriguing prospects aside from the 4-star foursome taking official visits.
3-star combo guard Chase Ross from Texas who plays on the New England prep circuit for Cushing Academy is also visiting the first weekend of October along with Moore and Bunch. The 6’4” Dallas native also holds offers from Georgia, Arizona State, Marquette, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Penn State, Kansas State and Mississippi State among others.
As for 2023, Rutgers is hosting 4-star and Top 60 center Gus Yalden the same weekend in October. Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska and Louisville appear to be the favorites, but getting the IMG Academy big man on campus is a good step in his recruitment. Another Top 50 recruit per Rivals in wing Gavin Griffiths just recently visited Rutgers as well.
The bottom line is that Pikiell and the staff are in the mix for several highly ranked prospects to close out the 2022 recruiting class. They are also pursuing some high profile 2023 recruits as well. After making the program’s first NCAA Tournament in 30 years, Rutgers is in a good position to capitalize by continuing to upgrade the talent on the roster for the future.
As for 2022, Bunch seems like an ideal fit for the program and could make a tremendous pairing with Jaden Jones on the perimeter. Aire would be a great addition on the block and Claude would be a matchup nightmare for point guards across the Big Ten. Klintman is still developing but has a world of potential. It is highly unlikely that RU can land three or more, but being this far in the mix for all four is encouraging that at least one will end up a Scarlet Knight.