Steve Pikiell has taken the Rutgers Scarlet Knights from the laughing stock of the Big Ten to an above-average team. This could be the season to take the next step for the Scarlet Knights.
As is tradition, CBB Review is again ranking the top 100 teams heading into the new college basketball season. Each day, we will reveal the next team until we reach the team slotted at number one. Follow along with #CBBRank on all our social media channels.
For the 8th year now the Scarlet Knights are led by Steve Pikiell who has brought stability since the pandemic, not going below .500 once since Covid-19 took effect.
In the past three years, Rutgers has been a bubble team, making two tournaments, and just missing out last year. Last year’s roster is now depleted by transfers, however, the saving grace is that lead scorer, rebounder, and blocker Clifford Omoruyi returns for his senior season as opposed to going pro or transferring.
Last year Rutgers went 19-15 winning and losing one more game compared to 2022’s 18-14 record. However, heading into this year, the team returns four out of its top seven for minutes played per game.
The Hawkeyes lost 4 players to the transfer portal Cam Spencer, Paul Mulcahy, Dean Reiber, and Jalen Miller as well as Caleb McConnel graduating. However, they reloaded with the 45th-best class according to 247Sports Composite. In that class, the Scarlet Knights added Gavin Griffiths the 67th-best player in the nation, and Jamichael Davis the 242nd-best player in the nation.
Alongside the high school recruits, Rutgers added four transfers who will have a major impact. Emmanuel Ogbole from Monroe College, Austin Williams from FIU, Jeremiah Williams from Iowa State, and Noah Fernandes from Umass.
Pikiell has the defense he’s had in past years but will need to up the Scarlet Knights offense if they want to get off the bubble this season.
Click here to learn more about our preseason top 100 teams heading into the 2023-24 college basketball season.
Head coach: Steve Pikiell (19th season, 8th at Iowa)
2022-23 record: 19-15 (10-10)
2023 postseason finish: Lost in the first round of NIT to Hofstra
Notable departures: Caleb McConnell (Graduated), Cam Spencer (Transfer to UConn), Paul Mulcahy (Transfer to Washington), Dean Reiber (Transfer to Charlotte), and Jalen Miller (Transfer to Oral Roberts)
Notable non-conference games: at Wake Forest (Dec. 6), at Seton Hall (Dec. 9), Vs Mississippi State (Dec. 23).
PG: Noah Fernandes (5-11, 175, Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 13.4 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.3 SPG, (at Umass in 11 games)
SG: Derek Simpson (6-3, 170, So.)
2022-23 stats: 7.1 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.5 APG
SF: Aundre Hyatt (6-6, 227, Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 8.8 PPG, 3.9RPG, .8 APG, .6 SPG
PF: Mawot Mag (6-7, 216, Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 7.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1 SPG
C: Clifford Omoruyi (6-11, 240, Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 13.2 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.1 BPG
6: Austin Williams (6-4, 200, Sr.)
2021-22 stats: 16.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.4 APG (FIU)
7: Gavin Griffiths (6-7, 185, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 67 rated player
8: JaMichael Davis (6-2, 155, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 242nd rated player
9: Antwon Woolfolk (6-9, 250 So.)
2022-23 stats: 2.3 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 7.3 MPG
10: Emmanuel Ogbole (6-10, 250, Fr.)
2022-2023 stats: 12.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG (Monroe College)
11: Oskar Palmquist (6-8, 220, Sr.)
2022-2023 stats: 2.3 PPG, 1.1 RPG , 9.1 MPG
12: Jeremiah WIlliams (6-4, 177, Jr.)
2021-2022 stats: 9.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.3 APG (Temple)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights MVP: Clifford Omoruyi
The star returns for his senior year after being the centerpiece of Rutgers this past season as he looks to repeat as an All-Big Ten defensive team and media selection. After last year Omoruyi is hoping to up his draft stock and the best way for him to do that is to develop a mid range or outisde shot which would also help the Scarlet Knights spacing.
Omoruyi will need to continue his stellar defensive play in order for Rutgers to get off the bubble this season as well as continuing to be the guy down low in the post.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights make-or-break player: Jeremiah Williams
A piece meant for depth will be forced to sit out for at least half the season after pleading guilty to underage gambling including on college basketball according to the Des Moines Register.
There are other guards who can fill the role as Rutgers added two other transfer guards who are more than capable, however, Willaims will need to stay healthy and not get into any more off the court issues.
Once back for conference play, he can be an instant flash off the bench providing whatever the Scarlet Knights need.
Key analytic: Turnovers
Last year Rutgers turned the ball over 11.5 times per game which was the 76th most in the country putting them in the top 20.9% of teams and they will almost for sure increase the number this year. Especially with the old backcourt heading out and the new transfer additions averaging more than McConnell who had the most on the team last season.
If Williams and Fernandes can manage to cut back on their turnovers then the Scarlet Knights will be in a good position.
Rutgers Scarlett Knights 2023-24 projections
Projected conference finish: 8th in the Big Ten
Projected postseason ceiling: NCAA Tournament – Sweet 16 Exit