Graduate transfer Omari Grier is a 6-foot-4 jump shooter thrust into the post but instead of an excuse, the Rutgers senior calls it opportunity.
Grier remains a forward for Rutgers with freshman Jonathan Laurent (mild concussion) as the latest casualty for snake-bitten Eddie Jordan. Defense remains circumspect and Rutgers is at times a non-factor in the paint but Grier wants to make the best of it.
“I’m clearly not used to playing the four or even playing the five,” Grier said after the 25-point loss to No. 3 Maryland. “I’m just trying to help my team the best way I can. It’s extremely different for me playing the four, but sometimes in order to be successful, you have to get out of your comfort zone.”
While Rutgers (6-10) seeks its first win of 2016 against Nebraska, Grier averages 16 points per game over his last four with Maryland as his third time in double figures during the stretch.
Rutgers returns home against Nebraska Saturday after back-to-back losses in front of its largest crowds of the season.
“It’s nothing more than a good teaching moment to tell those guys, especially preparing for next year, the things you have to go through in order to stay together and stay encouraged and stay positive with your other teammates,” Grier said. “Even though we’re extremely short with a lot of guys, it’s really no excuse not to encourage each other and still go out and play to the best of our abilities.”
The pressure remains on Greg Lewis, the lone true center available, after an inspired stretch. Lewis has his own injury history but his minutes are at a career high in his captain year.
“A lot of odds were stacked against us, so we just tried to do what we could and play with our hearts,” Lewis said.