2008 Rutgers Scarlet Knights Basketball Preview
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (11-20 overall, 3-15 Big East) last tournament berth was in 2003-2004 and that was an appearance in the NIT. Head coach Fred Hill has created a lot of excitement by bringing in top-15 in the nation recruit Greg Echenique and a bunch of other fine players designed to jumpstart the Knight’s floundering offense.
The Rutgers inside game has been lacking for years; this season looks to be different as two freshmen big men arrive—forward/center Gregory Enchenique and forward Christian Morris. Enchenique, who graduate early, would have been thought to be one of the top prep centers this year. Morris is a bulky six-foot-nine, 280-pound banger. Another frosh, small forward Patrick Johnson, will be an important element upfront. Experienced junior center Hamady Ndiaye (22.7 MPG, 5.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 0.5 APG, 46.2 FG%, 54.3 FT%) brings defensive and rebounding chops to the floor.
In the Rutgers backcourt another freshman, Anthony Rosario, will immediately add offensive punch and a winning drive to this team. Rosario, who was the New Jersey Player of the Year and a McDonald’s All-American, has a great scoring touch. Others in the backcourt mix include senior Anthony Farmer (30.0 MPG, 10.2 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.3 APG, 42.0 FG%, 76.6 FT%) and sophomores Corey Chandler (25.2 MPG, 11.9 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 39.7 FG%, 62.1 FT%) and Mike Coburn (27.1 MPG, 8.0 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.2 APG, 37.2 FG%, 73.8 FT%). Chandler could have a breakout season while Coburn showed toughness against some of the conference’s best teams last season.
The Knights have not been to the Big Dance since 1991, and they
won’t be going there this year. The freshman recruits look
good but there’s not enough talent or experience on board
yet to generate a winning record. Rutgers should be fun to watch
as this team grows throughout the season. A post-season appearance
is unlikely this time around, especially in a league as tough as
the Big East. But wait until next year. The NIT should be certain
and the NCAA a real possibility.