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Is Rutgers in play for five-star Mackenzie Mgbako?

The Scarlet Knights could pursue the New Jersey native.

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers has recruited at a high level over the last year. Steve Pikiell has been on the heels of many big-name recruits and could be in pursuit of another.

According to a report by Richie Schnyderite and Mike Broadbent of The Knight Report at Rivals, Rutgers will pursue 2023 five-star forward Mackenzie Mgbako.

The New Jersey native initially committed to Duke but requested a release from his letter of intent. There will be many schools vying for the McDonald’s All-American and Rutgers will certainly be on the list.

Mgbako spent three years at Gill St. Bernard’s in Gladstone, NJ before playing his final season at powerhouse Roselle Catholic. Over the course of his coaching career, Pikiell has ties to Roselle Catholic. It began during his time at Stony Brook when he recruited Jameel Warney. In four years at Stony Brook, Warney was named American East Player of the Year three times and is the all-time program leader in points, rebounds, blocks, and games played.

More recently, Cliff Omoruyi opted to stay home and attend Rutgers after playing for Roselle Catholic. Omoruyi is currently testing the waters of the NBA Draft but has maintained his eligibility.

Rutgers currently has four-star Gavin Griffiths signed in the Class of 2023 while four-star Baye Ndongo and three-star Jamichael Davis are committed. Adding Mgbako to this group would solidify the class and give the Scarlet Knights an elite front court — if Omoruyi returns to school.

The addition of Mgbako would also officially solidify Rutgers as players for big names in the Top 10. Of course, 2024 five-star Dylan Harper would also accomplish this goal. The intrigue of Mgbako is that Rutgers would add a future NBA Draft pick to the rotation immediately. If both Omoruyi and Paul Mulcahy return, Rutgers would have one scholarship remaining, including Ndongo and Davis.

Rutgers has made a splash in the Class of 2024 and is still in play for Harper. The addition of Mgbako would not immediately be linked to this class because there is a chance that he is a one-and-done player wherever he decides to play in college.

As of now, Rutgers has commitments from three Top 100 players in 2024. Five-star Ace Bailey, who is ranked No. 5 nationally by 247Sports, highlights the class. Four stars Dellquan Warren and Lathan Sommerville have also committed to the Scarlet Knights.

Mgbako is a program-changing recruit that would continue the rise for Rutgers Basketball if they are able to land a commitment. There is no current timetable for an announcement but one would assume that it will happen sooner than later so Mgbako can get settled. Of course, there is also the option of going pro and playing in the G-League before entering the draft.

Are you not entertained by Rutgers? Pikiell is showing that he is not messing around and that Rutgers will be in play for some big names for years to come.