2009-2010 Rutgers Scarlet Knights Basketball Preview
Fred Hill, the coach for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (11- 21 overall, 2- 16 Big East), has done enough the past few years to ensure that this season Rutgers will look a little better than they have in prior years. The Scarlet Knights have missed the post season four of the past five years. The only time they’ve played after the regular season ended was in 2006 when they went to the NIT.
The Knights scored an average of just 63.2 PPG (15th) last season while allowing opponents 66.6 PPG (8th). At minus-3.4 PPG, the Scarlet Knights found it tough going. The highlight for the team was their foul shooting, which was ranked third in the Big East, connecting with the basket 72% of the time. They were dead last in threes (30%) and 14th in field goals (42%). On the boards, Rutgers was 10th with a rebounding margin of plus-2.0.
As a freshman last season, forward Gregory Echenique (8.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 0.6 APG) played exceptionally well considering he was the one post player the team possessed. He’ll have some help this season from junior Jonathan Mitchell, a transfer from Florida. Senior Hamady Ndiaye (5.6 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 0.4 APG) may be raw but he’s an able shot blocker and rebound man. The last few years he’s struggled with back problems. If he’s healthy, he could be a go-to guy.
After a stellar freshman season, shooting guard Mike Rosario (16.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.4 APG) is back. It’s hoped that he can become more accurate with his shots. Junior college transfer James Beatty will be asked to man the point immediately. At Miami Dade College, he averaged 7.9 assists per game. The Knights have other talented, young players on hand. However, they need some time to mature and to develop consistency.
The Knights of Rutgers will finish somewhere around 13th and that’s certainly better than last year’s 15th place finish. If they can take advantage of some of the more inexperienced teams such as Marquette and St. Johns, then Rutgers could finish even higher. The fact is that there is depth upfront, a few raw but finely talented new players on board and some good experience all around. The Knights’ backcourt is exceptionally raw. Once they develop, this team will be tough to beat. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will be happening sooner than you think.