Q&A w/ "Shoes" Vetrone of Rutgers Basketball

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan added a recruiting edge and seasoned college basketball mind last year when he hired Greg "Shoes" Vetrone. Vetrone is now 12 months into his tenure with a big impact in the recruiting game. He spoke 1-on-1 with Scarlet Report about his first year as a Scarlet Knight coach.

Scarlet Report: What’s the biggest difference at Rutgers after a year on the job?

Greg “Shoes” Vetrone: “Year two for me personally, I’m much more versed in the Big Ten. It was a new league for me. It was a new league for everybody, really. I really saw what type of players we need to recruit to get to that elite level. It was a lot easier for me to identify players. I had to get used to everything about how Rutgers University works in terms of the academics, in terms of how the RAC works, everything. Moving into July, I had gotten hired July 1 last year, so I was thrust right into the road. We had a very successful recruiting class, I think, of the guys that we brought in. Things are good now.”

Scarlet Report: You have a lot more guys on the roster now that you personally recruited. Does that make a difference?

Shoes: “Any time you have relationships with players, it makes it easier to coach them. Being here a year, I have a great relationship with the guys I didn’t recruit too. I love Mike Williams. I have a great relationship with [Ibrahima] Diallo. D.J. Foreman has made it easy for me as well.”

Scarlet Report: So at the same time, you’re building relationships with the guys that were already on the roster?

Shoes: “Obviously when you recruit a player, you know a little bit more about them. You know what makes them tick, you’ve watched them more. I can coach Corey Sanders differently than I coach Mike Williams because I’ve known him for long, but you build that trust and that relationship with all of your players. The trust is the biggest factor with these kids.”

Scarlet Report: How about the relationship you built with DeShawn Freeman during a competitive recruitment?

Shoes: “Deshawn Freeman, that was a boxing match. That was Ali, Frazier and the Thrilla in Manilla. I had him locked up six times, then I thought I lost him six times. You draw that out through six months of recruiting, you really know a guy. By the time you get him here, that’s a big advantage. You have trust built both ways.”

Scarlet Report: How much different is recruiting when it’s not as last-minute as last year?

Shoes: “It’s 100 percent better. It’s nobody’s fault because I got here last minute, but I really didn’t know enough about coach [Eddie] Jordan or Rutgers to really let it permeate in the guy’s minds. Now when I go in and I talk about our academics and I talk about our program. I can talk about our radio team with [Chris] Carlin. I can talk about everything Rutgers, and there are some amazing advantages there.”

Scarlet Report: Your son is as loud and proud as they get as a Rutgers fan. What’s that like from your perspective?

Shoes: “It’s great. Some days, I have to tell him to relax or calm down. He’s still my son, and I’d love to have him calm down a little bit on Twitter, but it’s fun. You don’t know, as a student, but Rutgers is his dream school now. He loves it here. He loves being a part of it. Some of it, I have to be honest, is very entertaining.”

Scarlet Report: “A lot of kids aren’t interested in their parents’ jobs. That doesn’t seem to be the case at your house.

Shoes: “The thing about it is, he was a teammate of Shaquille Doorson’s. He was a teammate of Corey Sanders. He’s going to defend those guys, and he’s going to be a Rutgers guy all the way. Those are his teammates, so it’s different. Eddie Jordan has been tremendous in allowing him around the team and the access. The parents, they like that. When you say to a parent ‘I’m going to treat your son like I treat my son,’ and he’s there with you, it definitely helps.”

Scarlet Report: “In recruiting, you’ve got one big-time commitment and some more space to fill. What are your goals for the rest of 2016?

Shoes: “We would like to get some wing perimeter players and some shooters. Right now, we have great athletes. Our team is definitely upgraded with the athletes. Those guys are skilled, but to get a little more skill to shoot the ball from the perimeter, that’s the goal. We need one or two guys with some size. If we can get some 6-foot-4 to 6-foot-8 skill guys, that’s what we want.”

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