The 2017-18 Rutgers basketball roster nears completion with a Mother's Day commitment from Long Beach (Calif.) Politechnic center Myles Johnson. The 6-foot-10 Johnson marks coach Steve Pikiell's first big man commitment in the 2017 class.
Committed Over – Western Kentucky, Hawaii, Fordham, UC-Riverside
Rated – Myles Johnson holds a three-star rating in the Scout class of 2017 ranking system.
Scouting Report – Not only is Johnson a size boost at 6-foot-10, but he brings with him a wingspan that reaches beyond seven feet and an ideal “big man” skill set in the Rutgers scheme. Johnson has athleticism for a player his size but needs to follow the same nutrition plan that helped Shaquille Doorson reshape his body last offseason.
What does Rutgers want in a big man? Look at CJ Gettys as the prototype. A Rutgers center needs to have court vision, needs to distribute in the post and needs to bring toughness at the rim in conference play.
“I like this pickup as a long-term piece to puzzle,” said Scout basketball national recruiting analyst Josh Gershon. “He has good size, long arms, broad shoulders, soft hands and touch. He is a very good passer. He needs to keep getting in shape but has made very good progress throughout career; only setbacks have been injuries but he's been healthy for a year and has made a big jump. Think he could be a role guy early who has a bigger impact later.”
On the injury front, Johnson lost his entire junior year to a broken bone near his knee. Rutgers knows all about the injury concerns of big men like Doorson or former team captain Greg Lewis. Everything hurts more and takes longer to heal in one's legs at 7-feet tall, but you can't teach that size.
Recruiting Impact – In the game of numbers, Rutgers earned a victory with Johnson's commitment. Rutgers went into the weekend with two open scholarships and only three big men on the roster (four if you count Eugene Omoruyi in the post). Unlike Connecticut transfer Vance Jackson, whose skill is undeniable, Johnson is immediately eligible. The addition gives Rutgers one more projected spot for flexibility. Rutgers can target a late bloomer or transfer for the final spot or push it forward to 2018. It would also allow a 2018 prospect like Mamadou Doucoure to enroll early if interested. As it stands Monday, Rutgers has room for four 2018 commitments.
Quotable – “I pride myself on defense. I'm a good rim protector and a good rebounder. I'm a really good passer for my size. Offensively, I like playing out of the high post. I have a mid-range shot and my post offense with jump hooks and power moves is there. My size definitely does help with that.”
Final Thought – Pikiell has a knack for making things better late in a recruiting cycle. Face facts, Rutgers was in desperate need of a big man after Gettys was the perfect rental. Rutgers assistant Jay Young found an under-recruited big man with intelligence and integrity. Johnson should push Doorson and senior Candido Sa for playing time with his touch and defense. Most importantly, Rutgers has flexibility with at least one more open scholarship for a late steal, early enrollee or 2018 slot.