In past seasons, the Rutgers locker room can turn quickly during a rough losing stretch. Off to a 4-7 start this season, however, the locker room led by freshman Corey Sanders remains positive and united.
The start of the Sanders era is not without letdowns -- a one-game suspension to start the year and crucial missed free throws against St. John's -- but the freshman guard remains strong. Sanders leads all Big Ten freshmen with 12.7 points per game and a team-high 36 assists.
Not only does Sanders lead Rutgers in production, but he is a vocal brightspot in the locker room.
"To be honest, this is my dream to play college basketball," Sanders said after the loss to Monmouth. "Playing minutes is playing minutes. It's your sport. You have to have the will to play for your team. If you're down a man, you've got to play however many minutes Coach gives you. I don't think it's a problem with the minutes guys are getting. They love playing this game. They love being out there on the court."
A rocky start in the win-loss column did not curb Sanders' enthusiasm for the program and the crowd support Sunday against Monmouth added to the experience, he said.
"That's really important," Sanders said. "When we go on that run, the crowd got really involved and I thank them for that. I thank everybody that came out. ... The crowd is always a factor, so I'm glad that we had a good crowd."