The Rutgers basketball puzzle is far from complete, but more help arrives soon. When the late signing period begins next week, Rutgers adds a true ball handler to a group of guards in need of better distribution skills.
From France to Spain to Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College, Souf Mensah expects to be New Jersey bound by the end of May.
“I think I can be a missing piece for (Rutgers),” Mensah said. “I think I can make a difference for sure.”
Rutgers signed a legitimate shooter in Geo Baker. Mensah provides the compliment with passing and dribbling skills with room for at least one more in Steve Pikiell's 2017 class.
Mensah verbally committed to Rutgers in January. He closely followed the program after his official visit and pledge.
“I think I watched every game,” Mensah said. “If I didn't watch them live, I watched it after. I keep watching every game. I definitely see they need some more passing. We have a lot of open looks but didn't come at the right time. Defensively, I love what I see. They have a lot of good defensive players. Sometimes, we try to create without thinking about the other guys. I'm coming to create for other guys and not just myself.”
Mensah speaks regularly with Pikiell and the Rutgers staff.
“When I talk to (the coaching staff), it's more about how I'm doing in class, and it's more about academics and how I'm doing in life,” Mensah said. “We don't talk about basketball. When I talk to coach Pikiell, he talks to me about everything. He texted me a couple of days ago to talk about class. When we talk on the phone, he just says he excited to have me and to see when I'm there.”
Rutgers has at least one more spot available in its 2017 recruiting class. Prospects, including Mensah, are eligible to sign starting next week.
“I don't think I've spend one day without thinking about Rutgers,” Mensah said. “I'm thinking about it all the time. I'm trying to get ready, get better. My main goal is to get better before I get there, so I can play.”
On finishing junior college – “I'm enjoying the process. I'm working hard with my teachers and getting closer to them. The last few weeks are different than before. Everybody here wants me to succeed, and they're helping me.”
On basketball travels – “I've been traveling a lot from France to Spain and now I'm here. For me, it's just the next place. I'm not worried about fitting in. I'm sure I'm going to find good people. I love the way it's helping me grow up as a person and a player. It's going to keep helping me as I get older. I love New Jersey so far.”
On Big Ten basketball – “With the qualities I have physically, I think I'm ready. I think I'm going to be comfortable in any conference with my body ready. I can learn. I can guard. I think I have to learn about a lot of specific things on how the Big Ten works with little details, but I'm confident I can learn it.”