Charles LeClair / USA Today Sports

Q&A with Rutgers Basketball Assistant Brandin Knight - New Jersey, Recruiting, Corey Sanders

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- In preparation for the early signing period, Scarlet Report catches up with a key player in Rutgers basketball's recruiting efforts -- assistant coach Brandin Knight. Knight talks about his return to New Jersey after a decade with Pittsburgh and recruiting for a rebuild under Steve Pikiell at Rutgers.

Scarlet ReportHow are you enjoying your return to New Jersey?

Rutgers assistant coach Brandin Knight– “It's pretty good. It's been really good. I get to see my family a lot more, and it's been a good transition. All of the events and opportunities surrounding this university, if there was ever a good time to be at Rutgers, it definitely is right now.”

SR – Why right now? Is it about working for someone like coach Pikiell?

BK – “It's been a great learning experience. He's got some different ways and opinions that I'm learning. I'm learning things that I'll use if I were ever fortunate to have my own program. It's very good learning about dealing with internal infrastructure of a university. I think it's very good. That's the thing I think I've learned the most. With everything, you can look at it two ways – as a challenge or you can embrace the challenge and work through it. I think with everything that could be perceived as challenges or things that can be detrimental, you find a way to find the positive of how we can work at this and improve it from this angle.

SR – How about his management style with the players?

BK – “For myself, he's one of those people that can always teach you how to skin a cat a different way. Whether it comes to telling a joke with the players or being very serious but also being able to have a light moment, I've been able to pick up a lot of things from him in this short period of time.”

SR – It's easy to point to the challenges of recruiting at a place like Rutgers. What would you consider the positives and advantages of recruiting here?

BK – “There are plenty. We're centrally located in an area where there's a lot of talent. Whether they come through here, whether they're from here, go to school in New Jersey, there's so much good basketball at some point or another that guys eventually come through this state. I think being centrally located in an area that's easy to get to, it makes you a little bit more visible. It makes you more accessible.”

SR – As a guard, what do you like about coaching a guy like Corey Sanders?

BK – “It's very early in the process, and the good thing for me is I've never coached an athlete like him at the guard position. The other thing is we're trying to bring him along and develop a relationship and getting him to trust in the things that I'm trying to do. Those are all of the fun parts and the fun challenges that come along with the job. Hopefully we'll have a good year and he'll be a good part of that.”

SR – What do you like about recruiting?

BK – “I like putting together and trying to assemble a collection of talent that can help move this program forward. Move it in a positive direction. That's always exciting.”

SR – How is it going so far? Your name comes up a lot in talking to recruits.

BK – “It's the nature of my job. Whatever the title may be for myself, I've always tried to work as diligently as possible to make sure we get, not only the right players for our program, but the best people for our culture. [We want] people who Coach would enjoy coaching and spending his time with because, for us, it's just as much of a vetting process as anybody else.”

SRHow important is the personality aspect when you're rebuilding a program?

We want to make sure that when we get a kid, he's the right kid for the program. He's going to adhere to all of the things you want. We're trying to establish a culture. There's a sense of pride in hoping that we can get a collection and an assembly of talent that will bring us together and help us build a winning program.”


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