Jack Playing Bigger at Five

Kadeem Jack continues to see more time out of position, and is liking a bigger role at center. Jack went for 22 and 10 while playing primarily the five last week. He will start at center tonight at UCF with Eddie Jordan sticking to a new-look rotation.

Kadeem Jack began playing the five as an emergency option behind Wally Judge and Greg Lewis. He did it to help the team, but felt out of position from his natural four spot as a scorer.

Then Jack's minutes at the five sky-rocketed, and so did his production. With plenty of NBA eyes on Thursday night's game against Memphis, Jack had his best game yet as a center.

In a high-motor 36 minutes, Jack scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Jack added two blocks and two steals while running the five defensively.

"He likes that ability to have the ball go through him," said Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan. "In the offense, the ball can go through the center a lot or it can bypass the center. Just to say the offense resolves around the center doesn't mean the center has to touch the ball. If your skillset says this is more beneficial to us if you catch more in the box or if you catch more on the elbow, then that's where the ball should go."

Getting Jack touches has been a focus for Jordan, and the Rutgers offense, and center allows that to happen.

"He really likes playing the five," Jordan said. "Obviously the guards and the forwards have more things to understand in the offense, and the five is sort of like the fulcrum. Everything revolves around him. … Our guys like the fact that Kadeem can get a lot done when he touches the ball downstairs or at the elbow. It helps us."

Rutgers shows flashes of the traditional "Princeton offense" in its style. That means a heavy passing role for Jack.

"It's two boxes, two elbows and the top of the key," Jordan said in breaking down the technical aspect. "That's where he gravitates. That's how he navigates the offense. Keep popping to those areas and every once in a while he may pop to the wing to run a pick-and-roll. … For the most part, you find your spots box to box, elbow to elbow and occasionally at the top of the key."

Rutgers loses Judge at the end of the year, and will need Jack even more at the five next season.

The Scarlet Knights have capable commitments at the position in Dwayne Foreman and Ibrahima Diallo, but the experience factor for Jack will be crucial in the Big Ten.

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