It was the least experienced basketball players that demonstrated their value to coach Eddie Jordan in Tuesday’s 75-59 victory over Central Connecticut State.
Jordan’s two freshman prospects – Corey Sanders and Jonathan Laurent – led Rutgers with 33 combined points and a 6-for-8 mark from three-point range. A diminished roster has the pressure on both with George Washington as the next challenge.
“I’m just staying aggressive and showing that I’m a confident player,” Laurent said. “Coach Jordan always preaches that you keep your head in the game and let the game come to you.”
Laurent’s role evolution continues and a combination of depth and injury issues have the 6-foot-6 wing out of position. Laurent played in the post early in high school but not at the college level.
“It’s kind of comfortable but the competition is way bigger,” Laurent said. “I’ve done it before and coach Jordan likes to post me up for a mismatch, so it’s getting more comfortable for me. I know that with DeShawn [Freeman] out, I have to rotate to play more of the four. I have to box out after every shot and play more of a natural big role. It’s the same just with more responsibility.”
As the team’s only true point guard, Sanders knew the responsibilities that came with his commitment to Rutgers. He leaders Rutgers with 13.3 points and four assists per game.
“I try to play consistently every night, and I think that pretty much shows,” Sanders said on the win over CCSU. “I don’t feel like I stepped up. I just played ball.”
Sanders hit a career-high four three-pointers against CCSU. He is third on the roster with a 38 percent clip from long range.
“I can shoot the ball. I just have to find my rhythm,” Sanders said. “Looking at tape and stuff, I’m really just focusing on how I have to knock down these shots. I got great opportunities to shoot. They weren’t bad shots I was taking and they went down today. I can’t complain.”