Of the two teams entering the Big Ten this season, it’s Maryland that will have expectations to meet with regards to not only competing within the league but also making a run at an NCAA tournament bid. That isn’t the case for Rutgers, which will be led by seniors Myles Mack (14.9 ppg, 4.3 apg, 2.7 rpg) and Kadeem Jack (14.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg)as they look to bound back from a disappointing 2013-14 campaign.
Unfortunately for head coach Eddie Jordan, he’ll be short two players this season as he looks to put together a solid second season at the helm.
According to Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press, Friday afternoon Jordan announced that he’ll be without two freshmen this season, as 6-foot-10 forward/center Ibrahima Diallo and 6-foot-6 guard/forward Ryan Johnson were declared by the NCAA to be partial qualifiers. Diallo and Johnson can remain on scholarship and help the team in practice, but they will not be eligible to compete in games.
Both players will have four seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2015-16 season.
“Ibrahima and Ryan have both worked very hard since arriving on campus and have done everything we have asked of them,” head coach Eddie Jordan said in a statement. “We will utilize this redshirt season as an opportunity for Ibrahima and Ryan to continually develop, both on and off the floor. We look forward to the contributions they will make during their Rutgers careers.”
Neither Diallo nor Johnson was expected to be a key contributor for the Scarlet Knights this season, but the NCAA’s decision leaves Rutgers with ten scholarship players for the 2014-15 campaign. If everyone remains healthy that would be fine, but there’s obviously no way to guarantee that any team will avoid health issues all season long.
Rutgers begins practice this weekend and their first regular season game is scheduled for November 16 against George Washington, which won 24 games and reached the NCAA tournament a season ago.