Rutgers University Introduces Eddie Jordan

Rutgers cleans up quick under Jordan, nabs another commitment

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After the scandal involving Mike Rice at Rutgers, no one would’ve blamed new coach Eddie Jordan for essentially conceding the 2013-14 season, the Scarlet Knights final one with the (now) American Athletic Conference before heading to the Big Ten.

Though it sounds like Jordan won’t be conceding anything, according to Brendan Prunty of  the Newark Star-Ledger.

Despite starting with four scholarship players when he was announced as the new coach a few months ago, Jordan has already gotten several players to stick in New Brunswick — including Jerome Seagears (who came back) and Wally Judge — as well as grabbing several high-level commitments from the 2014 class.

The most recent commitment was 2014 shooting guard Mike Williams out of Brooklyn, N.Y. Williams is the third commitment for Jordan for 2014, joining power forward Dwayne Foreman and junior college shooting guard Bishop Daniels of ASA College. He’s also added Pittsburgh transfer J.J. Moore.

For 2013, Rutgers still have three commitments in incoming freshman power forward Junior Etou and JuCo point guard D’Von Campbell and shooting guard Craig Brown.

Jordan’s quick rise at Rutgers isn’t going to put the Scarlet Knights on-par with the elites yet. But Jordan, despite his own recent troubles regarding his educational situation at the school, has at the very least been able to bring the name of Rutgers basketball back to a respectable level in the region — all three of his 2014 recruits are from the northeast — and, even though the athletic department is still sifting through more trouble, he’s been able to keep recruiting at a respectable level.

And while his two assistants — whose contract extensions, with Jordan’s endorsement, are still awaiting approval by the university — helped navigate, they quickly threw the credit back to their boss.

“Eddie closed every kid,” Cox said emphatically. “Eddie. Closed. Every. Kid.”

The most impressive thing Jordan has been able to do is probably the fact that he’s separated the basketball program from the Mike Rice scandal swiftly (the athletic department is still dealing with it, but from a hardwood standpoint, you’re not hearing much from the leftover assistants or players.)

Rutgers isn’t expected to compete with the top teams in the AAC/Big Ten immediately, but they’re back to basketball respectability quickly this offseason. Given the summer that athletic department has had, that’s an accomplishment.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.