The dust has settled, the verbal debates have died down and to the naked eye all thats left from Wednesdays epic battle between St. Patricks and St. Benedicts is the end result 45-44. To those of us who are astute and can read between the lines, the real war was waged in the stands. Rutgers brought out its big guns as Gary Waters, Fred Hill, and Jim Carr were all in attendance shopping to land Rutgers next Blue-Chip Recruit. Its no secret that Rutgers has Lance Thomas, Corey Stokes, and Eugene Harvey high on their list of prized recruits and with good reason. All three are highly ranked and projected to be impact players at the next level. Lets not forget about the players on the other side of the court. Corey Fisher was hands down the best player on the court that day. Rueben Guilandeaux despite not shooting the ball well displayed flashes of brilliance and has proven he can provide a tremendous offensive spark. Jeff Robinson is lightning in a bottle capable of awesome displays of athleticism.
Hype and rankings aside lets take a moment to look at what each player might possibly bring to the table:
Lance Thomas: Energy, Offensive Rebounds, Hustle Plays. Lance has developed a nice 12-15 foot jump-shot and plays as hard as any player in America. In order to be the dominant force everyone predicts, he must get stronger physically and become more proficient offensively. The energy and strength required for him to bang bigger bodies can have an impact on his hustle plays. Get your hands on some Robert Horry (Houston Rockets Robert Horry) games and study them.
Corey Stokes: A classic big-guard body, Corey shoots with NBA Range. Shoots well in transition and coming off screens, like most players he needs to get stronger and improve his lateral movement. Corey can shoot over small guards but needs to continue developing the ability to put it on the floor to blow by people and finish at the rim. Study some classic Glen Rice and Mitch Richmond footage.
Corey Fisher: A true gamer. As long as he is making good decisions you want the ball in his hands with the game on the line. A fearless competitor who has obviously worked to improve his speed and conditioning. Still needs to stay patient and play within himself. Can be a streaky shooter, but has been blessed with innate point guard abilities that cant always be taught. In order to dominate at the next level Corey must continue to improve his athleticism and prove that he can consistently make good decisions in the clutch.
Rueben Guilandeaux: Tall guard who finds ways to score quickly and in bunches. Must get physically stronger and begin to utilize his size to rebound, defend and make passes by seeing over the top of the defense. Not sure if hes ready to assume the point guard position, but when he wants to he can create scoring opportunities for himself and for others. Once he gets stronger and utilizes his physical talents he can be a dangerous mismatch for opposing guards. Dig up that Penny Hardaway footage circa 1996.
Jeff Robinson: Potential is the best adjective to describe Jeff Robinson. Jeff can shoot the ball with range, and can finish high above the rim. Jeffs biggest challenge will be to adapt to the game. Against a zone find open space and knock down the three, but also be able to get free along the baseline and finish at the basket. Against man to man Jeff needs to have confidence in his ability to exploit mismatches. Post the smaller and weaker players and drive the ball to the rim against bigger and slower opponents. Jeff must work hard to avoid the curse of being labeled a tweener.
We will have to keep a watchful eye on this shopping list. Im sure that Rutgers isnt the only school with this shopping list so we will have to see who Rutgers chooses and who chooses Rutgers!