A look at the Rutgers Scarlet Knights

When Rutgers appeared in the Chicagoland Invitational over the Thanksgiving holiday, Jeff Wolf of MarquetteHoops.com couldn't resist a chance to take a look at one of the Golden Eagles' upcoming Big East foes. Jeff checks in with his take on the upcoming tilt with the Scarlet Knights.

When Rutgers appeared in the Chicagoland Invitational over the Thanksgiving holiday, Marquettehoops couldn't resist a chance to take a look at one of the Golden Eagles' upcoming Big East foes.

Starters:

PG #2 Anthony Farmer (so., 6-1, 190)
SG #1 Marquis Webb (sr., 6-5, 205)
SF #32 Jaron Griffin (so., 6-7, 210)
PF #15 J.R. Inman (so., 6-9, 220)
C #4 Adrian Hill (sr., 6-8, 235)

Key Reserves:

G #3 Courtney Nelson (so., 6-1, 180)
F #13 Ollie Bailey (jr., 6-7, 230)
C #5 Hamady N'Diaye (fr.,6-11, 235)

This team is very similar in some ways to a second-tier version of Marquette. They play very good perimeter and post defense and handle the high pick-and-roll very well. While very athletic and possessing decent size, they have trouble scoring inside, and their perimeter game can be streaky at times. Against a well-coached Miami (OH) team, the Scarlet Knights scored only 17 points in the first half and finished the night on the low end of a 57-44 score.

The most talented player on the roster is Inman, a sophomore who's equally talented shooting from outside or driving to the basket. He's one of their few big men with true finishing ability in the paint. He led Rutgers with 11 points in this game and also pulled in 9 rebounds.

Their best pure shooter is Griffin, and they try to get him a lot of looks beyond the arc from either wing. Although he has the size to be a forward, you won't find him inside too much. Think Steve Novak without the polish.

Farmer is their main ball-handler and they will run some isolation plays for him off a four-low set. He's a decent shooter and makes his free-throws, but he sometimes has problems with the entry pass. Nelson, a transfer from Richmond, is an adequate backup at the point.

N'Diaye draws instant comparison to a young Ousmane Barro. Both hail from Dakar, Senegal, and both provide a strong shot-blocking presence near the basket. The freshman, who attended Stoneridge Prep in California, has some problems with his back to the basket but should develop into a force for Rutgers in the future.

The biggest thing that separates Rutgers from Marquette is the Scarlet Knights' lack whatsoever of a break. This may possibly have been due to the fact that Miami leaked three defenders back after every shot attempt, but even when they had numbers Rutgers was content to slow the ball down and set up their half-court offense. This usually involved a lot of baseline runners (in a hybrid-flex look) and multiple post-ups.

Rutgers is a fairly young team that has yet to fulfill its potential. They were pretty tentative on offense, settling for outside shots all night and not attacking the basket until late when the game was out of reach. To their credit, they are a scrappy group on the other end of the floor. Despite their low first-half output, they only trailed by one point at intermission. Miami forced some key turnovers midway through the second half to break the game open, but until then it was an even contest.

The night before, Rutgers played a strong Bradley team and lost 101-72.

**Jeff Wolf is a freshman majoring in Advertising.


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