Rutgers basketball and Steve Pikiell are open about their need for starters on the recruiting trail. To recruit someone that has to sit out the season, it would have to be a special player.
Pikiell thinks Quinnipiac transfer Peter Kiss is that special player.
“He'll be one of the most athletic players in our program,” Pikiell said after Rutgers officially announced Kiss Wednesday afternoon. “He's a terrific athlete. He runs and jumps. I love the fact that he's going to have a year with (strength and conditioning coach) Dave VanDyke. He's a multi-position guy with really good size. I like that he'll have three years to play here, plus he's a local. He's one of those kids that plays with a chip on his shoulder, a swagger about him. He's going to start working hard and, before you know it, he'll be eligible.”
Kiss committed to Rutgers over Auburn April 23 while on an official visit. It was his second sting as a top target for Pikiell, who went after him while with Stony Brook.
Kiss scored 13.3 points per game as a breakout freshman at Quinnipiac.
“It was great,” Pikiell said on re-recruiting Kiss. “I know a lot about him. I'm sure about him. I've seen him a lot. I know his abilities and talents. I know (Qunnipiac coach) Tommy Moore well, so there's a lot of connections. He's a great kid, great family, a kid who is in the gym. You can never have enough of those kids.
Kiss was a 41 percent shooter with 2.8 assists per game last season.
“He's a really good passer,” Pikiell said. “People talk about his scoring, but he's a terrific passer. He has a year to get his feet wet. He wanted to be in the gym that day (that he committed).”
Rutgers has two more spaces in a 2017 class that began with Geo Baker. What does Pikiell want?
“Starters,” Pikiell said. “We're just trying to keep getting good players, keep adding those pieces. We're invovled with a lot of guys. We have a couple of guys coming up to visit. We'll keep plugging away.”