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Q&A with Rutgers SF Jonathan Laurent, Why He Didn't Transfer, Steve Pikiell's Promises and More

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Jonathan Laurent's freshman season at Rutgers could have been his last after a coaching change and frustrating year. What brought the 6-foot-6 returning starter back? Laurent breaks it down in a Q&A session with Scarlet Report.

Scarlet Report – How are you enjoying your sophomore year so far? Is it really the “night and day” difference everyone mentions?

Sophomore forward Jonathan Laurent– “It's been way different compared to last year. Coming in, I didn't know what was going to happen in college. Sophomore year has been has been a great change, especially with coaching change. We've got a lot of skill work in. There's a lot more teaching than last year. It's been a really big change.”

SR – How tough was it to go through a coaching change as a freshman? The guy that recruited you is gone after about eight months with him.

JL – “You've been playing for different coaches your whole life. I was looking at transferring, but if you do that you're going to have a new coach anyway. I might as well stay and see what the new coaches has in store for me. It's a big change, but you just have to learn how to adapt.”

SR – What kept you from transferring? There had to be other options for you after how you played last season.

JL – “Coach [Steve] Pikiell came in with some great ideas. He told us to open our ears and listen to what he has to say. See what he had to do. We sat back and started working out with him. He started making a lot of changes, and we saw that he was really committed to us. That made it clear for me to stay and keep building this program.”

SR – Coach Pikiell told me and a lot of other people that his first goal when he got the job was to re-recruit the current players. How did he do that for you?

JL – “Everything that he's promised us he's going to do, he's done it. I come in and want to work hard for him every day because everywhere that he's went, he's won. I feel like, if he can keep his promises on all of the changes he's made already, he's going to keep his promises on turning around this program.”

SR – No more 6-foot-6 centers this season, how happy are you about that?

JL – “I'm pretty happy about that.”

SR – You're back at your natural position with so many big guys finally healthy. How does it feel?

JL – “I think it's helping me develop more. Getting out of it last year, it was kind of tough. Getting back into it this year, these coaches are teaching you things you never knew and things you never learned before. They've seen plenty of great players come through, so they have a ton of small tips for me on what I need to do.”

SR – You and Corey Sanders both made impacts as a couple of freshmen out of Florida. What do you want to do this season?

JL – “Last year wasn't what we expected it to be but it's going to change. We're going to make sure that change starts this year. That's for sure.”

SR – What can we expect when we see the new team debut next week?

JL – “Last year we didn't really focus on defense. We just tried to outscore other teams and it didn't work too well. We had to change that up. I get in the gym late night and take shots, I'm developing myself on the court with that. There's going to be a lot of hustle, a lot of rebounding, defense.”

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