Rutgers basketball got better Tuesday morning with a verbal commitment from Centereach (N.Y.) Our Savior New American School big man Mamadou Doucoure. Doucoure is coach Steve Pikiell's first member of the highly-anticipated 2018 recruiting class.
Committed Over – Doucoure had plenty of suitors and verbal scholarship offers, including St. John's, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Georgia Tech and Oregon.
Rated – A three-star recruit, Doucoure ranks as New York's No. 2 center and the No. 17 overall center in the class of 2018.
Scouting Report – Doucoure looks up to DeMarcus Cousins. Like 2016 Rutgers commit Eugene Omoruyi and Draymond Green, expect plenty of similar comparisons here.
Doucoure fits Pikiell's ideal big man vision because it starts on the defensive glass and ends with aggressive defense. The points will come as Doucoure, still new to basketball and limited with high-school injuries, develops. Like Candido Sa this year, do not underestimate Doucoure's ability to move with the basketball or stroke a mid-range jumper over his defender.
What to improve? It starts in the gym, where 6-foot-9, 230 pounds evolves and tones into a well-conditioned college athlete. Doucoure's injury history and limited basketball experience give Pikiell and assistant coach Jay Young a relatively blank slate with time to develop.
Recruiting Impact – Should he remain a 2018 prospect, an established big man like Doucoure is essential for two reasons. First, it marks step one in a post reload process with CJ Gettys, DeShawn Freeman and Sa all departed by the time Doucoure enrolls.
Second, Doucoure's commitment sends the right message to other top targets on the Rutgers 2018 board. Hungry for elite local players like Naz Reid and Louis King, this is a message that they would not be alone. Before a full focus on the massive needs in 2018, the focus is on 2017, where Rutgers has room for at least one more player alongside guard Geo Baker.
Quotable – "There is no doubt in my mind that Mamadou will have a very successful career at Rutgers.” – Our Savior New American School assistant coach Eric Jaklistch.
Final Thought – The 2018 class needs to be Pikiell's “we're back” class for Rutgers basketball, and a top local post player is the right start. Rutgers already devotes a key portion of its game notes to the languages spoken and international flair of the program. Why not add a man from Bamalio, Mali to the mix?