Earl Pettis, a 6-5 guard/forward originally from St. John Neumann-Gorietti High School in Philadelphia, committed to Rutgers on Monday. Pettis, rated a three-star recruit by Scout.com, chose Rutgers over the likes of Pittsburgh, Temple, George Washington, Indiana, Marquette, St. John's and Delaware.
In the end, Pettis felt that Rutgers was the simply the best fit for him. He felt real comfortable about everything the Scarlet Knights had to offer: he was close with the coaching staff and impressed with the direction the program was going. Location also played a role in Earl's decision as well.
"He said the he felt Rutgers has the best fit for him - he felt the most comfortable there," Earl's former coach, Carl Arrigale of St. John Neumann-Goretti HS in Philadelphia told SOR. "Earl's big on trust and getting the opportunity to play right away and I think Rutgers gave him all of that. I think a lot of Earl's decision had to do with location as well. I don't think he wanted to go to far away [from home]."
Another factor that went into Pettis' decision to commit to Rutgers was his visit to campus this past June. Earl made an unofficial trip to New Brunswick with his brother and was impressed with the Rutgers campus and facilities. According to Neumann head coach Carl Arrigale, "[Earl] took an unofficial visit in June with his brother and he liked the direction of the program RU is building and how they were gonna use him."
When asked about his decision to commit to Rutgers, Pettis responded: "The coaches made me feel at home and they're in the Big East- a place where I always wanted to play. I'm real excited."
After he made up his mind early Monday, Earl said the first person he called was assistant coach Jim Carr, who then relayed the good news to Fred Hill and the rest of the coaching staff. Carr, who had been recruiting Earl from the start, developed a strong relationship with both Earl and the Neuman-Gorietti program.
"Coach Carr has been a friend of our program and he's been the main guy recruiting Earl, before Freddy took over," said Arrigale. However, Arrigale also points out that Pettis developed a solid relationship with head coach Fred Hill as well: "Earl really hit it off with Freddy."
While Coach Carr was the first at Rutgers to recruit Pettis, each member of the coaching played an important role in Pettis' recruitment. It was a team effort.
Pettis, one of the most prolific scorers in Philadelphia basketball history, averaged about 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists for Neumann-Goretti. He finished his basketball career at N-G with 1,045 points, fourth all-time in school history and earned a number of honors and awards from the local Philly media.
Earl is described as a versatile athlete who can play almost any position on the floor. "Earl's very versatile, he's 6 foot 5. He played 1 through 4 for us," Arrigale said. "He gives Rutgers a lot of flexibility the day he walks on campus. He can slash from the wings, shoot the jumper - he's just a very versatile player. He can break people off the dribble, he's unselfish, good passer and a good teammate."
Originally a member of the Class of 2006, Pettis is headed off to the Patterson School in North Carolina, where he will prep for a season. According to Coach Arrigale, Pettis' decision to prep was based of his academic situation.
"He needed to get things squared away in the classroom. He struggled [academically] his first year coming from public school," said Arrigale. "But now, he's older, much more mature and a very good kid. He's made decent strides academically and I think the prep year is going to do wonders for him."
After the prep year, Earl is expected to be fully qualified and eligible to play at Rutgers.
Pettis, who will join guards Justin Sofman and Corey Chandler as members of the Scarlet Knights' 2007 recruiting class, is capable of making an immediate impact at Rutgers. "Rutgers sees him as an instant impact guy, and I think they would be disappointed if Earl didn't come in and make a difference right away," said Arrigale.
What Rutgers fans should be most excited about is the fact that Pettis, who has already accomplished so much in high school, is not done improving. He has another year to refine and develop his game before arriving at Rutgers. "The greatest part about [Earl's] game is that he has a ton of room for improvement," said coach Arrigale. "There's a lot more upside to his game."
Earl Pettis: Player Profile
The Numbers: According to head coach Carl Arrigale, Pettis averaged an estimated 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists for Neumann-Goretti. He finished his career at the Philly school with a total of 1,045 points.
Awards and Honors: In 2006, Pettis garnered a number of awards for his performances. He was named to the 3rd Team Philadelphia Daily News All-City Team, 2nd Team Philadelphia Daily News All-Catholic League, 2nd Team Hoop Scoop All Philadelphia/Eastern Pennsylvania/South Jersey, and 2nd Team Coaches' All-Catholic League, Southern Division. Pettis is rated a 3-star recruit by Scout.com and was ranked the #37 small forward in the Class of 2006 before he reclassified.
Scout.com Scouting Report: Very solid college basketball prospect. Will take the big shots and can play outside. Like a lot of high schoolers, jumper needs consistency but he's a threat out there. Long bodied prospect who can score. Good shooter, though he could stand to get more consistent. Comfortable off the dribble. Average athlete. Clutch performer.
Neumann-Goretti Assistant Coach John Mosco on Pettis: "He can pass, shoot, he rebounds and he's not scared of getting dirty. He's almost too unselfish on the court…Earl is simply once heck of a player and a great scorer. He's played every position from the point guard to power forward in high school. Believe it or not, some believe he would be an effective point guard in college."
Sardonic, Mike Sullivan and Jeff Goodman of Scout.com contributed to this report.