#23 Rutgers Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Rutgers Scarlet Knights
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #23
Conference Rank: #6 Big Ten
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Coach Steve Pikiell’s rebuild of Rutgers has been quite impressive. It took four years, but he turned the Scarlet Knights into an NCAA Tournament team. In Coach Pikiell’s first two years leading the program, Rutgers won just three conference games. In 2018-2019 they boosted that number to seven and last year they went 11-9. That may not sound like a great record, but do not forget how brutal the Big Ten was last season and that 14-6 was good enough to win the conference title.
2019-20 Record: 20-11, 11-9
Coach: Steve Pikiell
Coach Record: 64-65 at Rutgers, 261-240 overall
Key Departed Players:
Akwasi Yeboah, Forward, 9.8 ppg
Shaq Carter, Forward, 3.6 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Ron Harper Jr, Junior, Guard/Forward, 12.1 ppg
Geo Baker, Senior, Guard, 10.9 ppg
Jacob Young, Senior, Guard, 8.5 ppg
Myles Johnson, Junior, Center, 7.8 ppg
Montez Mathis, Junior, Guard, 7.4 ppg
Caleb McConnell, Junior, Guard, 6.7 ppg
Paul Mulcahy, Sophomore, Guard, 3.7 ppg
Mamadou Doucoure, Junior, Forward, 0.6 ppg
Key New Players:
Daniel Lobach, RS Freshman, Forward
Mawot Mag, Freshman, Forward
Clifford Omoruyi, Freshman, Center
Oskar Palmquist, Freshman, Forward
Dean Reiber, Freshman, Forward
With seven of their top eight scorers returning, Rutgers is in a great position to repeat their success. Ron Harper Jr. led the way with 12.1 points per game. The tough and quick 6-6 wing is a matchup nightmare and proven to be very effective on both ends of the floor. Geo Baker was the only other double digit scorer on the team, tallying 10.9 points per game to go along with his 3.5 assists. He is a major offensive weapon for the Scarlet Knights, but Baker needs to start hitting his outside shots more consistently. Jacob Young, Montez Mathis and Caleb McConnell add plenty of options for Coach Pikiell. Mathis and McConnell are both big, lanky guards that earned regular starting jobs largely due to their effectiveness on defense. The tough defense starts with junior center Myles Johnson. The 6-11 junior easily led the team in blocks and rebounds and added 7.8 points per game. One of the keys for Rutgers this season will be replacing Akwasi Yeboah and Shaq Carter in the frontcourt. The hope is incoming freshman Clifford Omoruyi can handle the job. At 6-11, he is a physical presence in the paint and Omoruyi should at least be capable of making a big impact on the defensive end of the floor. Last year was great, but obviously it ended with a bit of a fizzle. Rutgers will look to keep the good times rolling, but for a program that has no history of success it can be difficult to do it again.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.9 (211th in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.6 (18, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.7 (126, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.3 (8, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (315, 13)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.0 (289, 13)
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.4 (330, 13)
Rebound Margin: 5.9 (27, 3)
Assists Per Game: 12.7 (211, 13)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.2 (92, 11)
Madness 2020 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#46 Cliff Omoruyl