Rutgers Coach Steve Pikiell Receivers First Commitment in Matt Bullock of Roselle Catholic

Rutgers basketball coach Steve Pikiell added a natural mismatch in Roselle (N.J.) Catholic and Sports U 2016 Matt Bullock. Bullock and Sports U CEO Brian Coleman spoke with Scout about the commitment, and how he fits with the new Rutgers basketball program.


Matt Bullock knows what it takes to build a winner based on the rise to power at Roselle (N.J.) Catholic. Bullock also has experience against elite basketball talent as a member of the Sports U AAU program.

New Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell identified that, and moved quickly to secure his first commitment.

“I’m going to try my best to get them back to the top,” Bullock said on his commitment. “I see us in the tournament in the next year or so and I’m going to go graduate in four years. I’m excited to get on the court. … I can play the two through the four but I’m most comfortable at the three or in the post.”

A proud New Jersey son, Bullock did not want to leave the state for basketball so the late push from Rutgers made it an easy decision.

“It’s a lot of relief off my should and off of my family’s shoulders because they expected me to leave Jersey,” Bullock said. “I wanted to stay in New Jersey, so it’s great and I believe I can continue what I started at RC at Rutgers, be one of New Jersey’s top players. It’s a great fit.”

Bullock committed to Pikiell shortly after he received a formal scholarship offer. He joins unsigned guard Jahlil Tripp and unsigned forward Issa Thiam in the 2016 class.

“Being the first commit to coach Pikiell shows me that he trusts and belives in me and believes that I can bring something others can’t,” Bullock said. “One of the main things he likes, he told me, is overachievers. I believe that’s what I am and I give 100 percent effort.”

Bullock’s recruitment became an enigma with a lack of interest from some top programs because of questions about where he fits on the floor.

Those same programs can expect mismatch nightmares against Rutgers moving forward, said Sports U CEO Brian Coleman, who coached Bullock along with many top New Jersey players like Karl Anthony Towns, Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Briscoe.

“Whether coach Pikiell has him playing a wing or inside as an undersized four, he’s going to help rebound,” Coleman said. “I really see him being a Charles Barkley type. Matty has been playing a the highest level all through high school and AAU against some top ranked guys, five-star guys. He’s held his own and outplayed quite a few of those guys. With his toughness and attitude, you’re going to see that he’s used to big-time competition.”

The 6-foot-4 Roselle Catholic star does not have a natural position with his mix of post skills, height and perimeter game, and that makes him a unique pickup at Rutgers.

“Matt is a really difficult basketball player to scout against because he has both perimeter ability and post ability,” Coleman said. “He’s a hard-working kid with a high IQ. He does whatever it takes to win games. … Matt is a basketball player. He’s smart. He knows how to play. He’s going to be a mismatch problem for guys. When you put a 6-foot-7 guy on Matty, he can do somethings to catch them in stride. If you discredit his jump shooting, he’ll surprise you. He has 30-feet range. He’s an excellent rebounder.”

Deep in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 classes, Sports U represents an important local relationship for Pikiell.

“I think he’s doing a great job,” Coleman said. “He’s taking the time out to reach out to everyone and introduce himself and have everybody get to know him and get to know other programs and high schools and AAU programs. He’s got a lot of work ahead of him but he seems like a very nice guy, and I know he’s a good basketball coach.”


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