Mack Emerging as Leader in Sophomore Season

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Fresh off a 23-point performance and spot on the Big East weekly honor roll, Rutgers sophomore guard Myles Mack spoke to about stepping up his performance to keep the program moving forward following Mike Rice's suspension.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Recruiting national prospects begins very early. For Rutgers guard Myles Mack and then Georgetown assistant Dave Cox, scouting began in middle school at an event in Chantilly, Va.

Watching a rising freshman camp during his first stint with the Hoyas, all that Cox could see was "how small he was."

"But he was a jet," Cox said. "He made every shot."

Flash-forward to their current roles with Rutgers basketball and Mack is still a very small guard – listed a 5-foot-9 – but he is the same jet on the college level that he was as a kid.

More importantly, Mack has been the glue in keeping the locker room focused and determined following Mike Rice's three-game suspension.

"When you put Myles on the floor, the first thing you get is you feel comfort," said Cox, who is a week through his role as interim head coach. "Because he's going to get guys in spots. He's going to lead. He's not going to be erratic. He's not going to be emotional."

Through nine games, Rutgers is 7-2, and Mack is leading the way statistically and with his presence at point guard.

His scoring average is up to 16 points per game. He ranks second in the Big East in three-point shooting with a 50 percent clip and his 96.2 percent line from the free throw line is third best in the NCAA.

"This is what he's always been able to do," Cox said. "Ever since the first time I saw him as an eighth grader, he's been able to shoot the ball. He finishes on transition. He's just doing what we expected of him to be perfectly honest. He's a heck of a player."

A member of the Big East honor roll following 36 points and seven assists in two victories, Mack described his confidence level as "sky high."

"It's always high, but it feels different right now," he said. "I'm loving it. The guys out there believe in me. My team believes in me. That's all I'm worried about."

In his first comments after Rice's suspension, Mack vowed to step up his leadership. His interim coach, Mack said, led quietly and it was time to step up vocally.

Rutgers responded with an 88-79 victory over UAB.

"I think my communication has helped me throughout all aspects of the floor," Mack said. "I just think my communication level has gotten a lot higher. ... I take public speaking classes too. Just being on the floor talking to these guys, that's what the coaches said they need me to do. They listen to what I say to them."

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