Players-Only for Rutgers Basketball Meeting Sets Attitude Adjustment

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Behind 33 combined points from freshmen Corey Sanders and Jonathan Laurent, Rutgers ended its four-game losing streak with a 75-59 victory over win-less Central Connecticut State. What helped the turnaround? Rutgers closed its doors for a serious self analysis after Saturday's loss to Seton Hall.

The holiday season is upon Rutgers University. For the Rutgers basketball team, that apparently means a traditional Festivus celebration.

The airing of grievances took place after a 29-point loss against Seton Hall and just in time for the end to a four-game losing streak.

The Rutgers players closed the doors after the Seton Hall blowout for a much-needed team meeting and bounced back accordingly with a slow albeit successful showing against Central Connecticut State.

“It was a man-up meeting,” said freshman guard Corey Sanders. “We just told everybody that we’re going to go around the room and whatever we feel like we need to say to each other, we’re going to say it. No hard feelings. That was done. Everybody came in after that meeting and, OK it was time to pick it up.”

Sanders showed a significant difference in coach Eddie Jordan’s eyes after the players-only meeting. It resulted Tuesday in 18 points and a 4-for-4 night from three against CCSU.

“There was a change,” Jordan said. “There was some sort of concerted effort among the players to change their attitude and their approach.”

Every player received a fair chance to air grievances and the result was a more focused locker room.

“We all came together and we tried to talk about all of the things that we’ve seen going wrong and how we need to get back on track,” said freshman wing Jonathan Laurent, who scored 15 points off the bench. “It was a players-only meeting where we talked about how we need to get together more and listen to our coach. He’s been there. He knows how to win. We need to follow what he throws at us.”

Next up on the Rutgers adenda -- feats of strength. Rutgers (4-5) ended its four-game losing streak but a Saturday clash at George Washington (8-1) without forward DeShawn Freeman presents new challenges. 

“I felt like it paid off tonight against Central Connecticut but it’s only one game and we have to keep going,” Laurent said. “We came back and got off of our losing streak but we have to ride it out.”

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