To say that the 2012-13 season wasn’t a smooth one for the Rutgers basketball program would be an understatement. Video of Mike Rice’s behavior in practices became public in the spring, resulting in his firing, the resignation of athletic director Tim Pernetti and four players deciding to transfer.
There are new leaders of both the athletic department (Julie Hermann) and basketball program now, with former Rutgers player Eddie Jordan grabbing the reins as the Scarlet Knights begin their lone season in the American Athletic Conference before moving on to the Big Ten. Jordan’s expected to be a stabilizing force for the program, but the fact of the matter is that he’ll need some help from the players who decided to remain at Rutgers.
One of those players is junior guard Myles Mack (13.6 ppg, 2.7 apg), who led the Scarlet Knights in scoring last season and is expected to do the same in 2013-14. And according to Matt Sugam of SNY.tv Mack’s become the team leader, albeit in a quiet “lead by example” manner.
“He leads by example,” senior forward Wally Judge said. “He comes in and he prepares just as hard as anyone else. He doesn’t look at it like ‘I’m the leading scorer. This is my team and I’m going to do this and do that.’
“He’s fitting in, but at the same time standing out. He’s a walking contradiction. I don’t know how to say it. He’s quiet, but his actions speak volumes.”
As Judge put it, Mack has “become more vocal without saying a lot.”
Rutgers has a chance to be competitive in the American thanks to the return of players such as Mack, fellow guard Jerome Seagears and forward Wally Judge, and the addition of transfers J.J. Moore (Pittsburgh) and Kerwin Okoro (Iowa State). Whether or not the Scarlet Knights make good on this depends on two areas: chemistry and stability.
Mack’s performance, both as a player and a team leader, will be one of the key factors for Rutgers in 2013-14, and in a way the Paterson, N.J. native can help shape the future of Rutgers basketball. Given the amount of talent the state’s produced over the years, it’s somewhat fitting that a native of the Garden State is being asked to lead the way.