Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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).

Projected Rotation

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

One thought on “CBB Rank 2023: No. 47, Rutgers Scarlet Knights”
  1. Rutgers is a program that I have really enjoyed watching over the last few years. I absolutely hate that Paul Mulcahy (one of favorite players in the country) transferred out. Add to that the losses of knock down shooter Cam Spencer and defensive dynamo Caleb McConnell and they’ve lost a lot from a team that looked like a surefire NCAA tournament team that completely faltered down the stretch. Clifford Omoruyi will continue to be one of the best big men in the entire country. Aundre Hyatt is one guy who looks primed for a star turn this offseason and Mawot Mag is very solid so, all in all, a really solid frontcourt backed up by a quality big in Woolfolk. The backcourt is where the heavy lifting will need to take place. Derek Simpson was really starting to shine as the season went on and I expect that to continue. I’ve always like Noah Fernandes, through all his previous stops, but he’s taking a big leap in competition coming off an injury riddled season at UMass. He’s going to have to be healthy and at his best to give this team a chance. Gavin Griffiths looks like he’s really going to be a player as a freshman and a possible future star. Austin Williams put up great numbers at Florida International in 2021-2022 but never got on the court last season. They need him healthy as well because the remainder of the bench is very suspect. I have them anywhere from 8th-10th placing them squarely on the bubble once again and dreaming about what might have been with Mulcahy and Spencer and wishing that Jeremiah Williams possessed good judgement.

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