Rutgers Scarlet Knights
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #67
Conference Rank: #9 Big East
Rutgers Team Page
Rutgers was an extremely young team last year and their inconsistencies were obvious, but Coach Mike Rice pulled together some great outings, especially at home. With a much needed year of experience for the youngsters, the Scarlet Knights should gain some consistency in the 2012-2013 campaign and that will have them ready to make a little noise in the Big East and head to the postseason. An NCAA Tournament appearance may be asking too much from this group, but the NIT would be a nice stepping stone for now.
2011-12 Record: 14-18, 6-12
2011-12 Postseason: None
Coach: Mike Rice
Coach Record: 29-35 at Rutgers, 102-66 overall
Gilvydas Biruta is the lone starter not returning. The big man is headed to Rhode Island to play for the Rams after averaging 9.7 points and 5.3 rebounds for the Scarlet Knights last season. Biruta was easily the most consistent interior scorer for Rutgers last season, but there are other options this year. Austin Carroll is also transferring, but he only played in ten games last season. Mike Kuhn and Charlie Rigoglioso are also not returning for the 2012-2013 campaign.
The big newcomer, literally and figuratively, is Kansas State transfer Wally Judge. The 6-9, 250 pound forward played in Manhattan, Kansas for the better part of two seasons. As a freshman back in 2009-2010, Judge averaged just 3.3 points per game. By his sophomore season Judge was a part-time starter and averaged 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 17 contests. Judge was starting to live up to his potential when he opted to transfer and had to sit out last season. He may be suiting up for games for the first time in 2012-2013, but Judge was around all last season and should be more than ready to make a huge impact. Vincent Garrett is another experienced piece that has the talent to contribute immediately. Garrett, who spent two years at Lee Junior College in Texas, is a 6-5 wing who can score in bunches. At 210 pounds, Garrett can use his strength to attack the basket and help out on the glass.
Who to Watch:
The backcourt will benefit from Garrett’s arrival, but the unit is already full of talented players. The problem with the perimeter players last season was inexperience. That will not be a viable excuse this time around. Sophomores Jerome Seagears and Eli Carter gained valuable experience in 2011-2012. Seagears is the best passer on the squad and dished out a team high 2.5 assists and added 7.7 points and 3.0 rebounds. Seagears is a decent shooter, but it is Carter who has the most potential as a scorer. Carter connected on 1.7 three-pointers per contest as a freshman and could stand to be a little more accurate from long range. After averaging 13.8 points per contest, Carter should emerge as Rutgers top all-around scoring threat. Mike Poole was one of Coach Rice’s wings last season, but he has turned into a player who can create for himself and his teammates. At 6-5, Poole brings great size and defensive prowess to the backcourt. Myles Mack is another solid defender, passer and scorer who is coming off of a promising freshman campaign. At 5-9 he lacks the size to play anywhere but the point, but Mack is a decent outside shooter and ranked second on the team last season with 9.8 points per game. Even if he is not starting, Mack will provide a nice spark off of the bench. The wings have a little more experience with Dane Miller. The 6-6 senior is a fine rebounder and actually led Rutgers with 6.6 per game during his junior campaign. Miller can fill up the stat sheet and averaged 7.9 points, 2.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.6 blocks in 2011-2012. Those numbers should keep going up. Malick Kone will battle with Garrett for minutes off of the bench.
Miller will do plenty of work on the glass, but this team will be much more balanced thanks to the addition of Judge. But Judge will not be in the frontcourt alone. Austin Johnson is the most experienced frontcourt player and tilts the scales at 250 pounds. Johnson has played pretty well off of the bench, but he should get another go in the starting lineup. Johnson only averaged 4.1 points per game last season and is not the strongest rebounder, but his size was needed in the paint. With Judge, Coach Rice could look at sophomores Kadeem Jacks, Greg Lewis and Derrick Randall. All three of those players started at least one game last season, with Randall gaining the most minutes of the bunch with 11.3 per contest. Randall is a strong rebounder and that skill will come in very handy no matter how many minutes become available. The frontcourt now has the experience and talent to compliment the immense amount of talent on the perimeter. And that talent is now a year wiser and that should have Rutgers eyeing the next step and reaching the postseason.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Jerome Seagears, Sophomore, Guard, 7.7 points per game
Eli Carter, Sophomore, Guard, 13.8 points per game
Dane Miller, Senior, Guard, 7.9 points per game
Austin Johnson, Senior, Forward, 4.1 points per game
Wally Judge, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#104 Wally Judge