During Rutgers basketball coach Steve Pikiell’s introduction, he described a slow build for the program and aggressive start when he arrived on campus.
Tuesday marked the two-week anniversary for Pikiell’s arrival to the Rutgers program.
Athletic director Pat Hobbs and president Robert Barchi welcomed Pikiell to the Scarlet Knights during a press conference at the RAC. The two weeks since represent a rapid spin of recruiting, building and introductions.
“[I’m] tired, not a lot of sleep, but excited,” Pikiell said. “It’s been an exciting two weeks. I can’t tell you the outpouring of A, people that want to work on the staff, B, recruiting and the positivity, the people in the immediate area, the season ticket holds. I’ve heard from fans. I’ve heard from alums. I’ve met and talked to a lot of people in the process. I’m trying to cover a lot of bases in a short period of time, but we’ve done that.”
Pikiell ends each day with the same question, and the answer so far are satisfactory.
“Every night I go, has Rutgers basketball gotten better today? I can say for two straight weeks, we’ve gotten better,” Pikiell said. “I’m very pleased with the progress and trying to do it the smart way too, not just being in a rush to do things. Do it the right way. Do it the smart way.”
Rutgers continues to build its basketball staff, most recently with strength and conditioning coach David Van Dyke from Stony Brook. The staff includes two other Stony Brook staff members in Bryan Dougher and Dan Rickard for roles in team ops and is expected to announce Karl Hobbs as associate head coach.
Pikiell penned a letter this week to the Rutgers community, and his outreach continues Friday with a speaking role at the New Jersey Basketball Coaches Clinic. Pikiell joins names like Larry Brown, John Calipari and King Rice at Roselle (N.J.) Catholic for the event.
“I want people to know who I am and know what type of program we’re trying to build here and that’s an important part of the building process,” Pikiell said.
Roselle Catholic senior Matt Bullock became Pikiell’s first verbal commitment last week, and the staff remains after Belmar (N.J.) Coastal Academy forward Issa Thiam. Thiam committed to coach Eddie Jordan with Greg Vetrone as the lead recruiter, but continues to explore options after the coaching change. Jordan commits Maishe Dailey and Jahlil Tripp are expected to explore options elsewhere.