NCB On The Trail: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Metro Challenge recap 

March, 30, 2014
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HYATTSVILLE, Md. -- DeMatha Catholic High School was the site of the inaugural Metro Challenge, which hosted 60 of the top basketball prospects from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia for a one-day showcase on Saturday.

One of the biggest themes of the day was the depth and talent of the region’s backcourt players in the 2015 class. Bryant Crawford led the way and made it clear from the opening tip that he was out to prove a point and silence his critics in the process.


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Playing the comparison game 

February, 20, 2014
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It's a constant topic of conversation: Which player does this prospect remind us of?

Well, given that the current college basketball season has been dominated by freshmen, we took a look at Jeff Goodman’s latest ranking of college freshmen and played the comparison game.

Duke’s Jabari Parker reminds us of Duke signee Jahlil Okafor.
Although they obviously don’t play the same position or have the same style, the similarities are there, and not just the superficial ones such as their hometown of Chicago or college destination. Although Parker does his work primarily from the perimeter and Okafor on the block, Okafor has that same level of maturity that will allow him to adjust to offensive structure just as quickly as Parker has. Furthermore, Okafor likely will take over for Parker and become the immediate focal point of the way Duke plays in the half court. The Blue Devils have tailored what they do offensively to Parker this season, and they’re likely to do the same for Okafor next season.


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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

I had a chance to watch Ibrahima Diallo (Winston-Salem, N.C./Quality Education Academy) play on a few occasions this fall and winter.

He owns a long frame with an enormous wing span and a soft touch inside. His best basketball is down the road, as he would be a perfect candidate for a redshirt. He needs to learn how to play inside with his back to the basket along with needing to add some overall body strength.

“After his official visit to Rutgers, the staff stayed in strong contact with Diallo,” said Isaac Pitts, Diallo's head coach at Quality Education Academy.

“He is excited about playing in the Big Ten and has become very close to current Rutgers freshman Junior Etou.”

Other programs that showed interest were Oklahoma, Old Dominion, Nebraska and Chattanooga.

This is a solid pickup for Rutgers with some long-term benefits.
Forty-six Division I schools came into the season with a new basketball coach. The vast majority of those changes were met with optimism and enthusiasm.

But with conference play now revving up, many first year coaches are dealing with the harsh reality that rebuilding isn’t going to happen overnight. And in those types of situations, sometimes your first year recruiting class can be more important than your win-loss record.

A coach’s first recruiting class is absolutely critical to his long-term success. It’s about more than just filling out next year’s roster. It’s about setting the tone for the way in which the staff and program will be viewed by prospects, high school coaches, and AAU coaches moving forward. And this time of year, when the product on the floor isn’t always something a coach can sell, making an initial splash on the recruiting trail is often times all it takes to develop the type of positive momentum to build on.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how seven first-year coaches are doing on the trail:

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Miami adds D.C. shooting guard

August, 5, 2013
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Miami landed a verbal commitment from Class of 2014 shooting guard James Palmer (Washington, D.C./St. John's) on Monday, ESPN.com has confirmed.

Palmer held offers from Radford, Rutgers, St. Joseph's and Towson, among others. He joins ESPN 100 SG Adonys Henriquez (Orlando, Fla./Orlando Christian Prep) in the Hurricanes' 2014 class.

Rutgers nabs local 3-star CG Williams 

July, 8, 2013
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The more you do this college recruiting job, the more imperative it is to find guys a team can win with. Collecting highly rated guys is nice, but as former Butler coach Brad Stevens can attest, you win with players who properly fit your program.

Rutgers scored a commitment from 2014 guard Mike Williams (Brooklyn/Bishop Loughlin) Monday, giving head coach Eddie Jordan one of those great fit kind of guys for his squad. During the spring, Williams graded out as one of the kids I thought played with the best motor. He’s a 6-foot-2 combo guard with a beautiful stroke and a nasty streak in his game.

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PG Shep Garner picks Penn State

June, 15, 2013
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Class of 2014 point guard Shep Garner (Philadelphia/Roman Catholic) committed to Penn State on Saturday, according to multiple reports.

Garner chose the Nittany Lions over Temple, LaSalle, Maryland and Rutgers, among others. He joins another lead guard, Isaiah Washington (Williamsport, Pa./Williamsport), who committed to Penn State in April.

Rutgers adds juco wing Chris Griffin 

March, 25, 2013
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According to a report on www.mycentraljersey.com, Rutgers landed a commitment on Monday from junior college small forward Chris Griffin (Tallahassee, Fla./Wabash Valley College).

Griffin played one season at Murray State in 2010-11, averaging 2.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in 8.7 minutes. He chose the Scarlet Knights over Florida Gulf Coast, St. Bonaventure, Miami and San Francisco.

"I'm a big guard -- I can shoot it, pass it, I can do everything," he told the site. "A lot of my strengths are things Coach (Mike) Rice is looking for."

Griffin joins PG Shane Rector (Bronx, N.Y./South Kent School) and SF Craig Brown (North Miami Beach, Fla./Broward Community College) in Rutgers' incoming class.

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Rutgers lands juco wing Craig Brown 

February, 4, 2013
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Rutgers added a second recruit to its 2013 class on Monday with a verbal pledge from small forward Craig Brown (North Miami Beach, Fla./Broward College), www.mycentraljersey.com is reporting.

Brown is averaging 16.0 points and 7.0 rebounds this season at Broward College. He held an offer from Auburn and interest from Washington State, Murray State and Gonzaga.

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Terps land four-star PG Romelo Trimble 

December, 13, 2012
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Class of 2014 point guard Romelo Trimble (Arlington, Va./Bishop O'Connell) ended his recruitment on Thursday morning with a verbal commitment to Maryland, The Washington Post reported.

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ESPN 100 Brandon Austin commits to Providence 

November, 19, 2012
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ESPN 100 SF Brandon Austin (Philadelphia/Imhotep Charter) verbally committed to Providence on Monday, ESPN.com has learned.

The 6-foot-6 wing originally committed to Penn State as a junior before re-opening his recruitment last summer. He also held offers from Connecticut, Georgetown, Rutgers, Temple and Xavier.

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Syracuse strikes again with SF B.J. Johnson 

October, 16, 2012
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ESPN.com has confirmed that small forward B.J. Johnson (Ardmore, Pa./Lower Merion) has verbally committed to Syracuse. He is expected to officially announce his decision on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-7 Johnson officially visited Syracuse last weekend along with center Chinonso Obokoh (Rochester, N.Y./Bishop Kearney), who committed to the Orange Monday night. Johnson had narrowed his choices to Syracuse, Villanova, Temple and Rutgers.

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ESPN 100 PG Roddy Peters picks Terps 

October, 16, 2012
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ESPN 100 point guard Roddy Peters (District Heights, Md./Suitland) announced his verbal commitment to Maryland on Tuesday morning.

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PG Frank Mason to visit Kansas 

September, 25, 2012
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The Kansas Jayhawks have been growing their point guard list in the last two weeks. Making an official visit this weekend to Lawrence is three-star point guard Frank Mason (Petersburg, Va./Massanutten Military).

The post-graduate point guard signed with Towson last season before failing to qualify. He made an unofficial visit to Maryland and Virginia Tech while South Carolina, UTEP and Rutgers have offered. Alabama is also in the mix.

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PG Kavon Stewart pledges to Robert Morris 

September, 25, 2012
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Multiple sources are reporting that point guard Kavon Stewart (Paterson, N.J./Hudson Catholic) has verbally committed to Robert Morris.

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