Rutgers Athletics

Rutgers wing Kerwin Okoro cleared to play immediately

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This offseason the way in which transfer eligibility waivers are handed out came under some fire, as many wanted more transparency (and even consistency) from the NCAA in dealing with such issues. While some players would have their requests granted due to a family hardship, other had no such luck.

One of those players was Rutgers wing Kerwin Okoro, whose request was denied despite the fact that he lost two family members (his father and brother) during his lone season at Iowa State. As a result Okoro played in just nine games last season, and he’d ultimately decide that he wanted to attend a school closer to his his native Bronx, N.Y. Given the personal losses suffered, if anyone had a case for being allowed to play immediately one would think Okoro would be that person.

But the NCAA didn’t see it that way initially. However there is an appeals process, and according to the Rutgers athletic department Okoro’s appeal has been granted, making him eligible to play in 2013-14.

Adding Okoro gives first-year head coach Eddie Jordan additional depth on the perimeter, with guards Myles Mack and Jerome Seagears (who transferred to Auburn before having a change of heart) being the most experienced players. The questions for Rutgers are in the front court however, as they’ve yet to hear anything regarding the statuses of Pitt transfer J.J. Moore and freshman Junior Etou.

If the Scarlet Knights receive favorable rulings for Moore and/or Etou they’ve got the potential to be a formidable program in the American Athletic Conference before moving to the Big Ten in 2014.

PHOTO: Ohio State’s new LeBron James shoe display

during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.
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Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.

The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.