One of the biggest issues for Mike Rice’s Rutgers Scarlet Knights last season besides their youth was the lack of depth in the front court.
Rutgers had just four players who averaged 11 minutes per game or more inside last season: Dane Miller (28.8 mpg), Gilvydas Biruta (25.5; transferred to Rhode Island), Austin Johnson (16.0) and Derrick Randall (11.3).
With the addition of Kansas State transfer Wally Judge, who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, and Kadeem Jack being healthy after playing just 18 games Rice doesn’t have the same depth issues inside in 2012-13.
That made it possible for Rutgers to go ahead and redshirt sophomore forward Greg Lewis, who has been slow to recover from a bone bruise in his knee according to Matt Sugam of SNY.tv.
According to Rice this is not a medical redshirt, and Lewis will have three years of eligibility remaining after this season. The bone bruise is the latest injury for Lewis, whose college career got off to a slow start due to an appendix issue.
The time off will give him time to both get healthy and fine-tune his game, something he was unable to do during the months before his freshman campaign.
“I think it’s good for both the program and himself,” Rice said. “He’s going to be so much more developed and mature. His skills and his body are just developing everyday. Two years down the line he’s going to be a monster so we’re really excited.”
Lewis didn’t see much playing time in the 18 games he was able to play last season, averaging just 5.6 minutes per game, and with the addition of Judge and Jack that was unlikely to change.
And with Lewis being in a similar situation to last season in regards to how little he was able to work on his game in the offseason, the move makes sense for both he and the program.
“And again, with the complications in his knee and being uncomfortable, same thing with his appendix last year, he missed all of preseason and it’s the same thing.
He’s going to have to catch up and by the time he’s ready it’s late December, so he’s like ‘look, let me make sure I’m completely healthy, let me have time off and let me heal this thing properly and I’ll redshrit for the year.’”
Rutgers beat Holy Family on Sunday in their lone exhibition before the season opener against Saint Peter’s, 92-52. Three guards, Myles Mack (17 points), Jerome Seagears (16) and Eli Carter (14), led the way offensively and as a team the Scarlet Knights scored 48 points in the paint.