Eddie Jordan did not offer a ringing endorsement about next season after a Rutgers loss to Maryland on Senior Day. When asked the same question at the Big Ten tournament Wednesday, Jordan was more prepared.
Sure, the future is murky for Rutgers with the majority of its leadership departing and 45 percent of its offense gone via graduation. But when things are as bad as 15 straight losses, maybe change – even into the unknown – can be a benefit.
That is Jordan’s hope in offseason No. 3 as the Rutgers head coach.
“I'm always worried about who's going to be the next scorer, but when I got here, my first year last year, Kadeem [Jack] was coming off a year where he averaged four points and two rebounds, and last year he averaged 15 and 9,” Jordan said in his final post-game presser of the season. “We think that's going to happen. Someone is going to step up.”
Who that someone is remains a question mark.
Rutgers has options, but none are proven.
Rising senior Bishop Daniels is a streaky scorer, which stood out Wednesday after an 0-for-6 start turned into 15 points and a can’t miss dunk. Daniels returns next year as Rutgers’ leading scorer with 8.4 points per game.
Junior Etou checks in right behind him at 7.4 points per game as the second-best long-range shooter and a solid defender.
Mike Williams has to be better than his 24 percent clip behind the arc, and Rutgers adds new faces to its offensive arsenal including four-star Corey Sanders, jump shooter Justin Goode and the red-shirting Ibrahima Diallo.
“Look, even if it's by committee and it's across the board, we can average pretty much the same,” Jordan said. “We don't need a major scorer, just consistent scoring.”
The same, however, will not be good enough for Rutgers, which scored 7.9 pointers per game fewer than its opposition.
The numbers do not concern Jordan, who spoke with class about the departing Mack and Jack before he ended Wednesday’s press conference with eyes on the future.
“You don't measure success in numbers,” Jordan said. “It's what you leave for the next generation, and they've left some lessons for our future team. They've been terrific guys to coach. They will graduate, and through the tough times they remained vigilant in their practice approaches and in the way they communicate with each other.
“ There were no cracks in the armor for us. We stayed together, and they were successful for our program. We've got great support from our staff, from our AD, who is here now, and Sarah [Baumgartner]. We've had from our president all the way down, they support where we are, what we have to do. They understand the process we have to go through. Again, we're not built to be successful, to have the 12th toughest schedule in the country. But again, that's what we're striving for, to be good enough to be in that be successful with those other programs.”