While big man Myles Johnson has a long way to go, the 6-foot-10 incoming freshman may be Rutgers' most skilled post player when he arrives this summer.
Johnson, who signed on Mother's Day after an official visit, gives Rutgers a more versatile post presence. It is a presence that coach Steve Pikiell and assistant Jay Young look forward to molding.
“He's terrific with his IQ,” Pikiell said. “I think he's very skilled. He'll be the most-skilled post player that we have.”
Johnson chose Rutgers over Hawaii and Western Kentucky. His recruitment suffered after a dislocated knee took him out of action for almost 14 months.
“You always worry about everything when you sign anybody with an injury but he came cleared and he had a great season and he didn't have any issues with it,” Pikiell said. “He's still growing, too. I like that part of him. He's young and he's long.”
Still growing with a 7-foot-2 wing span, Johnson helps fill a distributing void in the wake of CJ Gettys' departure. Johnson, after development, will be a shooting weapon outside of the post.
“Absolutely,” Pikiell said when asked about a perimeter game on offense. "He can really play inside and out. He's a terrific passer, terrific. We need that up front. We lose CJ who, as you know, is a good passer.”
In basketball terms, Pikiell scored with Johnson as a late addition but the Rutgers School of Engineering recorded the assist.
“He's an elite student,” Pikiell said. “Part of what really helped us is our terrific engineering program. He's totally picking schools based on engineering programs, so I'm thankful to our program, who played a big role in this. He's a terrific student, terrific family. He's just the kind of kid that we want to bring in at Rutgers. I think his best basketball is ahead of him. Any time you get a big kid with his size that can run the floor and knows how to play with that skill set, it's tough to find those kids. To go out to the West Coast to be able to get him and have him be very excited about Rutgers is an exciting thing.”
Rutgers has one vacancy for its 2017-18 roster, and the target is clear. If you can play, Rutgers is interested and plenty of minutes are available.
“We've got 100 voids, so we're just trying to get good players right now,” Pikiell said. “Everyone will say, 'we need this.' I'll say, 'we need everything.' When you finish in 14th place, you need everything. We have some good players. I think we really upgraded our passing ability a tremendous amount. I think our athleticism (is better) and our ability to shoot the ball. Myles can shoot the ball, too. He's not just a post guy.”