While good news has been tough to come by for the Rutgers basketball program in recent years, head coach Eddie Jordan and his staff received a much-needed boost in the form of their first 2016 commitment Sunday afternoon.
Four-star shooting guard Kwe Parker announced on Twitter that he’s decided to join the Big Ten program. Once known primarily for his ability to finish well above the rim, the Charlotte native has made strides in other areas of his game including perimeter shooting. Along with current freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college transfer forward Deshawn Freeman, Parker gives the Scarlet Knights another option they can build around for the future.
“After months of contemplating on my college decision, I’ve chose [sic] to continue my basketball career with Coach Jordan at Rutgers University,” Parker tweeted.
Parker plays a position where the Scarlet Knights will lose two players at the end of the 2015-16 season in Bishop Daniels and Omari Grier. Guards who will have eligibility remaining beyond the 2015-16 season include Sanders, Kansas State transfer Nigel Johnson (junior who will sit out this season), Mike Williams (sophomore) and Justin Goode (freshman).
Parker picked Rutgers over Florida, Florida State and Wake Forest.
Rutgers’ first season as a member of the Big Ten wasn’t a smooth one by any stretch of the imagination, as they won just ten games (2-16 in conference play) and ranked at or near the bottom of many of the major statistical categories both offensively and defensively.
And with contributors such as Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack out of eligibility, there’s room for others to step forward in 2015-16. Friday afternoon Rutgers picked up an experienced guard who will look to earn a spot in their rotation as a graduate student.
Former Bradley guard Omari Grier, who averaged 7.9 points per game as a redshirt junior, announced that he’s decided to play his final season of college basketball at Rutgers. As a graduate student, Grier will be eligible to play immediately for the Scarlet Knights.
Grier, who played his freshman season at FAU before transferring to Bradley, started 11 of the 30 games he played in and averaged nearly 23 minutes of action per contest. Grier shot 37.8 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from beyond the arc for the Braves, and in his first season as a member of the program (2013-14) he scored 10.4 points per game.
Grier joins a Rutgers backcourt that, even with the loss of Mack, is a bit crowded from a numbers standpoint. Bishop Daniels and Mike Williams return from last season’s rotation, with freshmen Corey Sanders and Justin Goode joining the program this summer. Rutgers also adds Kansas State transfer Nigel Johnson, but he won’t be eligible to play in 2015-16.
In total Rutgers is adding seven players to the program, with wings Deshawn Freeman (junior college transfer), Jonathan Laurent and Kejuan Johnson having made their pledges as well. As of right now the program is one scholarship over the limit of 13 according to Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press, so the roster shuffling likely isn’t done at Rutgers.
Eddie Jordan was hired by Rutgers in 2013. The move was a wise one on the university’s part, bringing in an alumnus to take over the program in the wake of the Mike Rice scandal, which cost the coach and the athletic director their jobs.
Shortly after he was hired, it was revealed that Jordan, the MVP of the 1976 East Regional, had never received his degree from Rutgers. On Friday, Jordan graduated with a bachelor of science degree in Labor and Employment Relations inside the same building where he coaches.
Jordan had enrolled in classes in June 2013. However, the completion of his degree was made more difficult, as his major had been dropped by the university. Jordan had originally majored in Health and Physical Education.
In two seasons at his alma mater, Jordan has a 22-43 (7-29 Big Ten) record.