Rutgers Freshman Jonathan Laurent Steps Up in Post

Little big man Jonathan Laurent, the 6-foot-6 freshman wing forced into action at center following injuries, dominated with his first career double-double against UMass Lowell. The Big Ten's Indiana brings eight players with better size than Laurent, however, and the freshman out of Florida looks forward to the challenge.

When D.J. Foreman went down Monday against UMass Lowell, Jonathan Laurent was ready. Already too thin with three forwards injured, Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan turned to the 6-foot-6 Laurent at center.

Laurent answered the call and then some with 13 points and 15 rebounds as a key spark in the go-ahead run in the first half.

“Coach always wanted me to come off the bench and be aggressive,'' Laurent said. "But I think now I have to step up way more because we don't have those guys. I just feel like my job is bigger now and I have to fill in that role.''

Fortunately for Rutgers, Foreman will be back in the starting rotation against Indiana, but the Hoosiers size creates a greater challenge for undersized post players like Laurent.

“I just want to play great competition,” Laurent said. “It’s the best basketball conference in the country. It’s going to be high-level, high-intensity, power league. I’m expecting a lot, so I’m just trying to get ready for that.”

Laurent played forward as a freshman and sophomore before he moved to the wing at Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips. His post experience helps, but it is far from what he expected as a Big Ten basketball player at 6-foot-6.

“I thought here I was going to be playing the wing but things happen,” Laurent said. “You can’t control it. You just have to do what you got to do to survive.”

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