Finishing last in the Big 10 during the 2014-15 season, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights only won two in-conference games en route to an awful 10-22 season. However, despite the departure of several key players, the Scarlet Knights look primed to be improved in the 2015-16 season.
Bishop Daniels is the team’s returning leading scorer and should be expected to be the catalyst from which this team is run offensively. Myles Mack’s career with the Scarlet Knights is over. Several young players will be expected to step forward for this team, including Mike Williams and D.J. Forman, who saw limited minutes off the bench last season as freshmen.
A major win for the Scarlet Knights was their success in recruiting four-star point guard Corey Sanders. Sanders is ranked as the No. 9 PG in the country and should see time running the point in his first season. Mack led Rutgers assists as well as scoring, so someone with Sanders’ handles could earn big minutes as a freshman. On top of Sanders’ arrival, Rutgers will receive a boost from Bradley Braves transfer Omari Grier, who averaged 7.9 PPG in just 22.7 MPG.
Unfortunately for Rutgers, they are still in the midst of rebuilding all the while in one of the most talented conferences in college basketball. Being improved will not translate to major strides in conference play, so expect the Scarlet Knights to finish with a sub-500 record once again, if only due to another disappointing year in terms of conference wins.
Sometimes taking a step forward just means avoiding finishing dead last in the conference standings. Rutgers basketball is headed in the right direction, but it will take several seasons and several more talented recruits before they can scrap their way out of the bottom – and then middle – of the Big 10.