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Rutgers Men’s Basketball Hoping to Surprise Doubters During Second Season in Big Ten

Bishop Daniels (Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports)

Bishop Daniels (Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports)


A year after finishing its inaugural season in the Big Ten with a 10-22 record, the Rutgers men’s basketball team is looking to turn the page.

Its two leading scorers from last year, Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack, are gone. The 15-game losing streak to end the season is gone.

In its place is a fresh start, full of fresh faces ready to make an impact for the Scarlet Knights.

It is now year three of the Eddie Jordan era at Rutgers, and the Knights are a team mainly comprised of recruits brought in by Jordan and his coaching staff.

“We’re young, it’s a new team,” head coach Eddie Jordan said. “I’ve asked them to embrace the process of trying to play together and understand there are going to be some hardships, there are going to be some missed plays because they don’t know each other.”

When Rutgers takes the court for its first game on Nov. 13, it will have one of the youngest teams in the Big Ten. The Knights top two scorers from last year, seniors Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack, have graduated. Of the 14 players on the roster, eight are either freshman or sophomores. Some have never seen playing time on a stage such as the Big Ten.

This youth movement for Rutgers has convinced many that the Scarlet Knights will finish at the bottom of the Big Ten standings again once this season is over. But for Jordan, he is not one to look towards the future.

“I’m not into predictions, I don’t predict,” Jordan said. “I predict today’s practice, I got it written up, that’s the only thing I can predict right now.”

One area of this team that can be predicted however is its transition to a more up-tempo style of play on offense.

Last season, Rutgers finished last in the Big Ten in scoring, field goal percentage, and scoring margin. The Knights averaging 59.3 points per game on 39.2 percent shooting from the field, and were outscored by an average of 7.9 points per game.

The coaching staff took measures over the offseason and during preseason practices to implement a new style of play for the offense. Jordan has moved away from the Princeton offense for a more up-tempo attack that looks to get the ball in the hands of playmakers frequently.

“We have perimeter plays who can make plays with the ball, and I want to open it up a little bit more,” Jordan said. “The last two years we’ve gone with a different style of offense, this year is new because I like the potential of our playmakers on the perimeter.”

One player who can give this offense life is freshman guard Corey Sanders. A consensus top-100 player in his recruiting class, Sanders brings a level of athleticism and energy Rutgers has not seen in years. With his primary skill set involving slashing to the basket to collapse the defense, the potential for Sanders is very high with a former guard such as Jordan coaching him.

Aside from Sanders, Jordan will lean on returning players such as senior guard Bishop Daniels and senior center Greg Lewis to anchor the team in the early going. Both upperclassmen provide Rutgers with the leadership and experience to guide this young team through another daunting Big Ten season.

Although most have already written the Scarlet Knights off this season, this is a team that is excited and prepared to surprise many in the 2015-2016 season.

“Our talent base is much deeper than the first two teams,” Jordan said. “We’re an aggressive, up-beat, confident, talented, deeper team. Now we’re young and new, and now we have to bring it together.”

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