The Rutgers Building Process with Steve Pikiell

WASHINGTON, DC -- At last week's Big Ten Media Day, Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell broke down the building process during his first 200 days at the RAC.

Rutgers basketball coach Steve Pikiell on the journey so far...

Crazy. It's been busy. It's been fun. I wake up every morning with a smile. I'm excited about my roster. I see the changes in them. I go in the gym late at night and I see guys in there shooting. I get excited about those things. A guy got an extra weight lift in last week. Those things, when I first got the job, I didn't hear any of those things. In 200 days, I think we've changed some of that. We've made it a better place, a better basketball program. I think our guys are more appreciated. They certainly are by me with the challenges that they've embraced. It's been a great 200 days. We put together a new staff, got a new roster for the most part. I've met a zillion people, some great Rutgers alums and fans, die-hard people. I've met a lot of great alums that are involved and are at every game, and I'm looking forward to them having smiles on their faces too.”

On the biggest challenges right now...

Just look at the league. I look at the banners every day, playing five preseason – every time I pick up another poll, five teams, six teams, four teams in the top 20. Lookup at those banners, these are established programs that have been winning at a high level for a long, long time. We've got to catch up to some of them. They've been around that track for a long time. … Nobody's leaving, so we can't get better because the league is changed. We've got to get better because Rutgers has changed and gotten better. These are some of the challenges that keep me awake at night.”

On Shaquille Doorson's growth, weight loss...

I'm seeing him dunk like never before. He's been healthier. He gets through drills now. His conditioning obviously is 1,000 percent better. The first workout with him, I thought he was maybe four years away from doing anything. He could barely get up and down the court, grabbing his legs, huffing and puffing. I think it's helped his confidence. He looks completely different. If you saw him, you would be amazed. I noticed that difference right away the other day. As soon as practice is over, he takes his shirt off. OK Shaq. He's so proud of his new look, he thinks he's a GQ model now. I'm real pleased. And he's young too with his basketball, so I think his best days are ahead of him. He's just starting to get a little taste of that.”


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