On the Shoulders of Lance Thomas

After a busy week with the announcement of Fred Hill as head coach, the Rutgers men's basketball team will have an even more hectic and important next few weeks ahead of them.

Coaching Staff
In addition to attending to the Douby/Thomas business, Fred Hill is also busy assembling his coaching staff. Hill spent the Final Four weekend interviewing potential assistants. It is expected that current Rutgers assistant Jim Carr will retain his job for next season.

Quincy Douby and Lance Thomas
The future of the program will be dictated in the coming days, by two key decisions: Quincy Douby's decision to stay at RU or go pro and Lance Thomas' choice between Rutgers and Duke.

Thomas, who spent the past week in San Diego playing in McDonald's All-American game where he scored 9 points on 4-8 shooting from the field, will have a huge impact on RU's recruiting of St. Benedict's Prep teammate Eugene Harvey. Gray Bees coach Dan Hurley said that the 5-11 point guard will "wait to see what Lance does because they are considering Rutgers together."

Thomas' college choice will have an even greater impact on Quincy Douby's NBA decision. It has been speculated that Douby's decision to enter the draft or stay for his senior season will depend on what Lance Thomas does. If Thomas signs with Rutgers, Douby will stick around. However, if Thomas opts for Duke instead, Douby will ultimately go pro. Quincy will meet with Coach Fred Hill and his high school coach Jack Ringel to discuss future plans later this month.

Obviously, it will be hard for Douby, or anyone for that matter, to turn down an opportunity to play in the NBA and the lucrative contract that comes with it. Quincy's support staff of Coach Hill and high school mentor Jack Ringel will help him make the choice, but it will be up to Douby himself to choose what is best for him and his family.

"I started hearing I'd have the opportunity to play at the next level. At first you don't really believe it but you keep hearing it," Douby said regarding the NBA. "That's your dream. Everybody playing at this level wants to play at that next level. When you consistently hear it, you've got to give it a try."

It does not help that experts are projecting that Douby could quite possibly go in the 1st round if he were to declare, further tempting him to forgo his senior year. Douby also has Big East- NBA history on his side. According to CollegeHoopsNet, in the last 23 years only five players have led the Big East in scoring at over 24 points per game: Chris Mullin with 24.9 in 83-84, Eric Murdock with 27.2 in 90-91, Donyell Marshall with 25.7 in 93-94, Allen Iverson with 25.4 in 95-96, and Troy Bell with 27.8 in 02-03. All of them played in the NBA.

Ultimately the future of RU basketball hinges on Lance Thomas' college decision. If he signs with Rutgers, Harvey may follow and Douby will probably stick around for his senior season - the fate of the program could quite possibly be decided on April 12th, the start of the spring signing period.

Everything lies on Lance's shoulders now.

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