Rutgers coach Formulating Offseason Plan

Mike Rice's first season as Rutgers coach is over, and he is now putting his offseason plan in place before most of the members of his highly-rated recruiting class enroll in June. Rice spoke to about his plans, looking for leadership in the program and the big-game prowess of incoming point guard Myles Mack.

The pain of Rutgers' controversial season-ending loss to St. John's a week ago is beginning to fade as Scarlet Knights coach Mike Rice is getting ready for the offseason.

He is yet to conduct exit interviews with the current collection of Scarlet Knights because the school is on spring break this week, but he is getting settled for the next few months.

"Just calling our recruits and starting to get organized for when our individual (workouts) are," Rice said, "when we're going to go out and recruit, and all that type of stuff."

The offseason workouts will be sparse once spring break ends given the low number of returning scholarship players in wing Dane Miller, center Austin Johnson, guard Austin Carroll, wing Mike Poole, forward Kadeem Jack and center/forward Gilvydas Biruta.

Also, guard Tyree Graham returns for his red-shirt junior season but is still rehabbing from reconstructive knee surgery and will be limited.

Graham also may be the most equipped to be a vocal leader, which is something the Scarlet Knights lacked this past season, but Rice will not push that role.

"I don't know what I have with (Graham), so his leadership role will grow with how well he's progressing with his health and with his knee and his rehab," Rice said. "So, I'm not going to ask him to do anything because of the fact he has to worry about himself first."

Rice went to see a pair of signed recruits in center Greg Lewis a few weeks ago, and attended the epic No. 2 St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) win against No. 1 St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) last Wednesday at the Rutgers Athletic Center in which point guard Myles Mack scored 19 points in the victory.

"Every time there is a high-profile game (Mack) seems to play at his best, so I'm encouraged by that," Rice said. "He has a wonderful skill set that I'm excited about developing and a toughness about him …he doesn't get nervous in big games, and that's always a positive."

Rice added he will also visit signees Malik Kone, Jerome Randall, Michael Taylor and Jerome Seagers "in the next two to three weeks," with one possible player not making it academically.

"It's a fluid situation," Rice said. "Not everybody is qualified. The majority have. We're still finishing out. Most programs have some guys that need to finish out strong. There's only one trouble we foresee, but that's not going to be discussed for another two or three months."

Rutgers is also still looking at adding another player to the recruiting class, with big man Wally Judge, who is transferring from Kansas State but will not receive his release until after the semester, as a primary target.

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