Jordan Steps Into Year Two

Rutgers is officially in year two of the Eddie Jordan era. Jordan's return sparked a twist of fate during a dark time in Piscataway, and it is the first step in bringing respect back to Rutgers. He discussed the one-year anniversary of his hire in a conversation with

Rutgers basketball was at rock bottom last spring, but began to kick out 365 days ago by hiring a home-grown coach with an NBA pedigree. Rutgers was between athletic directors on April 23, 2013, but successfully brought Los Angeles Lakers assistant Eddie Jordan home.

Jordan immediately improved the program's image, and improving in the win column is the next step. The results were underwhelming in Jordan's inaugural season. He exceeded national expectations with a seventh-place finish in the American, but ended the season with fans looking to go to sleep after an excruciating loss to Louisville.

The improvements are clear to those still standing in the locker room, however, and it started with an attitude adjustment.

"It's absolutely there," Jordan said on making progress. "Especially with what we want to do at both ends of the floor, they understand terminology. They know the commands. Last year, they didn't know anything. Our growth is tremendous."

Jordan came to his alma mater as the former shining Wizard head coach in Washington and more than three decades of NBA experience. He had lessons of his own to learn, however, when it came to getting back to college.

Rutgers had multiple preseason slipups and saw a wave of postseason transfers. But the foundation is there, and Jordan has a more prestigious conference to help put his program back on the map.

"What I like about it is that I'm happy for the kids," Jordan said on the one-year anniversary of his hire. "I'm old enough. The kids know me now. They know our defensive philosophy and our offensive concepts. I've had to adjust. I've learned a lot, and it's good to run around the track once to see what it is. Then you put the petal to the metal."

Rutgers (12-21, 5-13) never pulled off a stunner in conference play, but finished three spots higher than preseason projections in the American.

The Scarlet Knights twice took national champion Connecticut to the final minutes.

"It was a terrific conference that we played in, especially with the upper half," Jordan said. "We exceeded a lot of expectations. It could be called a dismal year or a gruesome and grueling year, but for us success is measured in how we exceeded expectations. That was how we grew. We represented the university. That was our success."

Captains Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack lead Rutgers into the Big Ten hoping to make a splash. Working hard during offseason workouts, the remaining roster has Jordan eager to turn the page to his second year.

"We've had workouts in the gym, and our guys are working hard with how we want to play," Jordan said. "It's a huge improvement from this time last year. We had no clue last year, and now we do. Now we have to pass that on to the new guys."

The new guys are currently the figure four of center Ibrahima Diallo, forward Dwayne Foreman, guard Mike Williams and guard Bishop Daniels. Rutgers has room for as many as three more additions, and Jordan is spear-heading the campaign to finish the 2014 class with more faces.

"We'd like to bring in more, and we still have two or three more scholarships open," Jordan said. "We have a good core of kids coming in, and we'll see what comes out shaking from the tree. We anticipate some good news."

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