Preferred walk-on guard Logan Kelley is already on campus for classes and set to replace the two departed seniors — Mike Kuhn and Charlie Rigoglioso. He may not have the blogging skills of Kuhn or the experience of Rigoglioso, but Kelley feels ready to be a Scarlet Knight.
"First off, I got lucky because most walk-ons have to wait until the Fall and try to make the team," Kelley said. "The tryouts for walk-ons is terrible. I feel like a scholarship player, I just have to pay tuition. I know what kind of work it's going to be, but it's not something that will scare me away. I'm at Rutgers to play."
Kelley goes through everything the scholarship players do this summer, including participation in the Jersey Shore Basketball League. Playing on the same team as Garrett, Judge and Myles Mack, Kelley said he feels honored to be with the rest of the Scarlet Knights.
"It's a good experience just getting used to everyone because I've only been at school now for a month, so I'm still building my camaraderie with the guys," Kelley said. "We're all cool."
Kelley had scholarship offers to smaller programs, but said he chose Rutgers because of the opportunity to play in big games.
The chance to play at Madison Square Garden and other famous college venues and a post-season tournament, he said, was too much to pass up.
"It's kind of a long story, but a couple of smaller Division I schools had offered and were interested," Kelley said. "In high school, I scored a lot of points and I was always interested in the big game, the attention.
"There's nothing bigger than Big East basketball and coach Rice had actually seen me play a couple of times just doing his checklist of who was out there. … My coach hooked it up and we were able to make it happen."
With the grand stage as his ultimate goal, the ability to call the Louis Brown Athletic Center home means everything to the Garden State product.
"It's awesome," he said. "It's every young basketball player's dream. I'm enjoying the weight-lifting, the shooting. I'm enjoying the guys because they're real dedicated just like I am. In high school, none of the kids I was with were on that level. It's great to be around these kinds of people."
Kelley is the all-time leading scorer in Governor Livingston history with 1,324 points.
"I'm still trying to figure out the college style game," Kelley said. "The game is a little faster. You don't have as much time to think it over. Traditionally, if you leave me open, I'll hit the jump shot. I'm 6-foot-3, strong, I can finish when I get around the hoop.
" I'm an average defender. I try my best on defense. I'm not freakishly quick, but I'll try harder than anyone. I think of myself as a smart player. I don't force anything. If I'm open, I'll hit the shot. If I'm not, I'll give to someone else."