The time has come for discussions about the recruitment of Bronny James.
To this point, James has not received any offers and it is unknown if he will even decide to attend college. If he does, there will likely be many elite programs on his tail. The blue bloods are expected to make a push for James but there will also be some surprise contenders. Could Rutgers be one of them?
Billy Witz and Adam Zagoria of the New York Times reported that the Scarlet Knights could make a surprise push for James.
“One school making an unexpected push to recruit James is Rutgers, a basketball striver. As far-fetched as it might seem, Rutgers is hoping Coach Steve Pikiell’s strong record of development — turning lightly regarded recruits such as Geo Baker, Ron Harper Jr. and Myles Johnson into decorated Big Ten players — carries some appeal to James.”
While his father was able to go right to the NBA out of high school in 2003, James will have go a different route if he does not attend college. James will have the option to join the G-League out of high school. He is currently ranked No. 39 in the Class of 2023, according to ESPN.
The basketball path for James has been in the spotlight since he entered high school, and even before that. He has taken great strides, both at Sierra Canyon and the AAU circuit, on the court and still has another year to improve his game. Over the next year, his recruiting will begin to heat up significantly.
So, does Rutgers have an actual chance?
The answer to that question is yet to be seen but what we do know is that Steve Pikiell has taken recruiting to another level. Let’s not forget that Pikiell and the Scarlet Knights have already landed a prospect ranked higher than James. Gavin Griffiths is currently ranked 25th overall in the Class of 2023.
The recruiting process for James will not be a traditional one. LeBron James has made it clear that he would like to play on the same team with his son in the NBA. The younger James may decide to forgo college and go straight to the G-League in hopes of getting drafted. Also, coming to New Jersey from California is a big move, especially since James is currently part of the Los Angeles Lakers.
On the other hand, it is unknown which top programs could view James as an immediate contributor. That could be different for Rutgers. Pikiell has a track record of developing talent and has clearly taken the program in Piscataway to a completely different level.
The allure of recruiting James is there for all programs. While Rutgers might not be the likely destination, it will at least dip a toe in the water when the time comes.