Will Jack Play After Arriving in 11 days?

Rutgers signee Kadeem Jack, a four-star power forward, will begin practicing with Rutgers on Dec. 27. The next day the Scarlet Knights play North Carolina. Rutgers coach Mike Rice previously said Jack would red-shirt, but is he having a change of heart? ScarletReport.com talked to Rice about it after the Scarlet Knights' practiced Thursday afternoon.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers will welcome a new player to its practices Dec. 27, but coach Mike Rice put it at 95 percent Kadeem Jack will red-shirt.

Jack, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound four-star power forward, committed to Rutgers in August and signed his binding national letter of intent in November.

After leaving South Kent (Conn.) he enrolled at Central Jersey Each One Teach One (Somerset) post-graduate school. He arrives at Rutgers shortly after Christmas, but don't look for a big lift from an insertion into the lineup.

"There is a 95 percent chance he's going to red-shirt," Rice said. "We have had 38 practices. I have 40 offensive sets in. Asking him to be able to do that would be kind of unfair to him."

When Jack left South Kent, the plan was for him to enroll at Rutgers and use the season at a red-shirt year to get stronger while getting acclimated to college life.

With nine scholarship players and the Big East schedule in front, there is temptation to get Jack playing this season to help lay the groundwork for 2011-12.

However, Rice isn't about to do it.

The day after Jack is eligible to practice, the Scarlet Knights play North Carolina in Madison Square Garden. After that, Rutgers begins Big East play Jan. 2 against Villanova, meaning Jack would have 18 conference games, plus at least one game in the Big East tournament.

"Could he play 10 to 12 minutes a night? Yeah, probably," Rice said. "But that would be wasting a year for him if we went ahead and used him."

The early enrollment will allow Jack time to learn the system, and also spend considerable time in the weight room while getting adjusted to the academic and social aspects of college.

But with a Rutgers front-court consisting of Gilvydas Biruta, Jonathan Mitchell, Robert Lumpkins and Austin Johnson, there was one thing that could change Jack's red-shirt status.

"Injuries," Rice said. "If we have injuries, we'll have to look at it."

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