Jonathan Laurent had plenty in the tank Thursday after he missed two weeks because of a mild concussion. It showed against No. 9 Iowa with 29 minutes and 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting in his return to the RAC. The 6-foot-6 freshman wing was the first forward off the bench for Rutgers, and he was a difference maker.
"He’s coming back as the backup center," Laurent said. "That’s where we are right now. We missed him. He started off as a backup small forward and he could possibly have been the starting small forward. But he’s coming in as a backup center. So we’re still missing those bigs. But his presence helped us. He gives us good athleticism. He’s good knack for scoring around the basket. He defends every position. We’re happy to have him back.”
Laurent upped his average to 6.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. During injury recover, Laurent latched onto injured veteran DeShawn Freeman to discuss all things basketball.
"Just being around him, around your teammates, is fun," Laurent said. "Not getting to practice with other teammates, I felt left out, so it was good getting around him. [The injured playres] helped me keep my head."
Of course with no game this weekend, the Orlando, Fla., native is not as confident in his ability to handle his first snowfall.
"I'm not ready for it," Laurent said. "I'm not built for it. I'm going home."
Laurent joined fellow Floridan and freshman Corey Sanders with a better showinga gainst Iowa. Sanders finished with 12 points and one assist shy of his first-career double double.
"It was good [to have Laurent back]," Sanders said. "Jon is the player that he is and it shows. He's very active. He's an explosive guy. He does a lot of things right for us."