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Rutgers lands important 2019 in-state recruit

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Rutgers kept an important in-state prospect home on Wednesday as top-150 prospect Paul Mulcahy pledged to the Scarlet Knights out of the Class of 2019.

The 6-foot-5 Mulcahy was a priority recruit for head coach Steve Pikiell and the Rutgers coaching staff as they’ve been recruiting the unique guard since they took the job. A versatile perimeter player who can play on or off the ball, Mulcahy is a gifted passer with good floor vision and instincts.

With the Scarlet Knights adding some talented players in the Class of 2018 in guards Montez Mathis and Ron Harper Jr., the program is starting to put together the makings of a strong backcourt for the future. Since Rutgers also has Geo Baker and Texas transfer Jacob Young (sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer rules) in the fold, there is reason to be optimistic about the future of Scarlet Knights basketball.

Mulcahy is exactly the type of recruit that Rutgers and Pikiell need to land if they hope to be competitive in the Big Ten. Regarded as the No. 134 overall prospect in the Class of 2019, according to Rivals, Mulcahy hails from Gladstone, New Jersey.

Gavitt Games features national title game rematch

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Nothing like news in May of a national championship rematch to get you excited about November.

Michigan and Villanova, which battled for the NCAA tournament title in March, headline the Big East and Big Ten matchups of the Gavitt Games, which were announced Tuesday.

‘Nova bested the Wolverines, 79-62, in San Antonio to win its second national championship in three years. The Wildcats will be without Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson, both of whom are pursuing NBA careers, but they’re still a national-title contender in 2019 as the No. 2 team in our preseason top 25. Michigan landed just outside at No. 26.

Not a bad little non-conference matchup.

In other notable games, Wisconsin and Xavier will meet in a rematch of a memorable 2016 second-round NCAA tournament matchup while Ohio State will visit Creighton and Marquette will head to Indiana.

 

2018 Gavitt Tipoff Games Schedule

Tuesday, Nov. 13

Georgetown at Illinois

Wisconsin at Xavier

Wednesday, Nov. 14

Michigan at Villanova

Seton Hall at Nebraska

Marquette at Indiana

Thursday, Nov. 15

Ohio State at Creighton

Penn State at DePaul

Friday, Nov. 16

St. John’s at Rutgers

 

Ron Harper Jr. commits to Rutgers

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For the third time in 10 days Rutgers has landed a verbal commitment from a recruit in the Class of 2018.

Ron Harper Jr., son of the 15-year NBA veteran who won five championships with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, made his pledge to the Scarlet Knights. Harper Jr., a 6-foot-6 swingman, plays for Don Bosco Preparatory High School in New Jersey.

“He was real happy,” Harper toldRichard Schnyderite of the Rivals’ Rutgers affiliate site. “I also talked to [Head] Coach [Steve] Pikiell. He was really happy. He said he was really excited and happy to coach me. I love all the coaches’ personality and how they brought some solid new guys in the program. I think they’re heading the right direction with the right people.”

Harper, who is considered a three-star recruit by Rivals, held an offer from Nebraska as well as several mid-major programs. He joins center Mamadou Doucoure and guards Mac McClung and Montez Mathis, a four-star prospect, in the Class of 2018. McClung and Mathis both committed to Pikiell and his staff earlier this month.

This is the second commit Pikiell has received from the hotbed of New Jersey high school hoops since taking over the Big Ten program in 2016.

Haas, Swanigan lead No. 16 Purdue past Rutgers

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — While power forward Caleb Swanigan grabs the majority of the attention with his 22 double-doubles during what has become a special sophomore season, No. 16 Purdue is at its best when 7-foot-2 junior center Isaac Haas is almost as — or more — productive.

Haas had 24 points and 11 rebounds Tuesday night, and Swanigan added 12 points and 17 rebounds in the Boilermakers’ 74-55 victory over Rutgers.

Purdue (21-5, 10-3 Big Ten) led 45-39 with just over 12:30 remaining, but from the 11:15 mark until he left the game with 2:20 to play, Haas scored 16 points, and the Boilermakers pulled away for their fourth consecutive victory.

“I just kind of got into a rhythm,” said Haas, who scored a season-high 26 points in a Nov. 22 victory over Utah State in Mexico. “I was really trying to focus on rebounding, doing what I need to do for the team to win and accepting my role. It just kind of came to me tonight.”

Nigel Johnson scored 23 points to lead Rutgers (13-14, 2-12), which had no answer for Purdue’s big men.

“They’ve got two great players,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “What a luxury bringing (Haas) off the bench. They caused many problems, and they surround those guys with good shooters. I thought we did a decent job on Swanigan. Obviously, Haas was Swanigan tonight. They are a good basketball team that poses lots of problems for people.”

Boilermakers coach Matt Painter got what he was looking for from Haas during the final 20 minutes.

“His footwork was great,” Painter said. “He kept it simple. He got them down deep and used his post moves. He was the difference in the game in the second half. With Isaac, you try to keep him fresh, but when he plays like that, you don’t want to take him out.”

Thanks to 28 from Haas and Swanigan, Purdue outrebounded Rutgers 45-28. Purdue shot 47.5 percent to 35.9 for the Scarlet Knights.

Purdue struggled with turnovers in the first half (8) and led 33-26 through 20 minutes when Johnson was 5 of 6 from the field, including 4 of 4 from 3-point range, for 14 points, but the Scarlet Knights missed a chance to pull closer when the rest of their roster was 5 of 22 from the field.

Haas had eight first-half points, and Dakota Mathias and Carsen Edwards each added six. The Boilermakers outrebounded the Scarlet Knights 23-10 in the first half.

BIG PICTURE

Rutgers: While Johnson and Corey Sanders comprise an impressive backcourt, the Scarlet Knights lack the frontcourt strength to compete with a physical team such as Purdue, which got 36 points and 28 rebounds from Haas and Swanigan.

Purdue: The Boilermakers are 7-1 since a Jan. 12 loss at Iowa and continue to impress with a blend of interior and perimeter offense, plus great man-to-man defense when they need it.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Having won four in a row and seven of eight, Purdue would be positioned to rise in the next poll if it can beat Michigan State on Saturday in Mackey Arena.

MONSTERS IN MACKEY

Since losing on New Year’s Day to Minnesota in overtime in Mackey Arena, Purdue has beaten Wisconsin, Illinois, Penn State, Northwestern and Rutgers on Keady Court by an average margin of 19.8 points. Now 6-1 at home in Big Ten play, the Boilermakers have Michigan State on Saturday and Indiana on Feb. 28 left at home.

UP NEXT

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights travel to Northwestern on Saturday.

Purdue: The Boilermakers host Michigan State on Saturday.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

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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.

Four-star shooting guard Kwe Parker verbally commits to Rutgers

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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.