To say that this coming weekend was crucial for Fred Hill and his staff's recruiting efforts would be a great understatement. According to Scout.com's national recruiting director Dave Telep, Rutgers will host over ten visiting recruits this weekend.
Among the players who planned on coming to campus in Dexter Strickland, arguably the top sophomore in New Jersey. Strickland, a 6-3 SG out of St. Patrick HS, was named the MVP of the Adidas Phenom 150 camp, and received favorable reviews of his performances at the Nike All-American camp and most recently, the Mobile Elite 24 event at New York's Rucker Park.
Also making their way to New Brunswick will be recruits SOR has been tracking for a while: commits Corey Chandler and Earl Pettis (who was later confirmed to have actually not made the trip), Hun School standout Idris Hilliard and quick 2008 guard Travon Woodall. Other high profile recruits visiting include 6-7 power forward Austin Johnson (2008) and 6-4 Delaware small forward Jarret Mann (2008).
Here our list of visitors, and a few comments about each.
Dexter Strickland - (see above)
Idris Hilliard - 3-star small forward with promising size and ability
Paris Bennett - an active 6-6 PF/C; Stickland's HS and AAU teammate
Travon Woodall - agile 5-11 guard who is ready for a breakout year at St. Anthony's
Hakeem Harris - Class of 2010 Blair Academy guard
Austin Johnson - one of RU's top 2008 targets who led Cheltenham HS to a huge season
Jarrett Mann - 4-star guard/forward from Delaware playing for the Playaz
Corey Chandler - highly regarded commit who can do it all at the PG position
Earl Pettis - versatile guard/small forward who will prep; Fred Hill's first commit (did not make trip)
Lavoy Allen - 2007 big man from Pennsylvania who would fill RU's frontcourt needs
Brian Oliver - 6-5 small forward out of William Penn HS in Delaware
Greg Echenique - top sophomore at St. Benedict's with great size and rebounding ability
Anthony McClain - big time 7 foot center with a solid low post game and decent defensive abilities
Needless to say: If Fred Hill and company made the expected strong impression this past weekend, there could be some very good news from the recruiting front…
Earl Pettis: More Opinions
On Pettis' basketball abilities…
"At 6-5, 205 pounds, Pettis, PA Prep Report's #2 ranked wing forward in the 2006 class, is a very versatile player who is capable of playing and defending all three perimeter positions. Pettis does a good job penetrating and getting into the defense, where he is a very capable scorer a passer. His perimeter jumper could use some improvement, but he can hurt teams from the mid-range and behind the arc. Also a solid rebounder from the perimeter, Pettis has really improved on the defensive side of the ball."
- Ethan Frank, PA Prep Report
Pettis on his decision…
"I picked Rutgers because they've been with me through thick and thin. They have a good program. I've known [Rutgers head basketball coach Fred] Hill for a long time….My family and friends can come and watch me play whenever they want. [My brother] said Rutgers would be a good fit for me. My family and friends really liked it…I am kind of excited myself. It hasn't sunken in yet."
-Earl Pettis in an interview with the South Philly Review
On Pettis' prep year at the Patterson School (NC)…
"I think the whole prep year is gonna do wonders for him. It will give him some more academic skills. He's ready to play basketball at the college level right now, but he's kind of a shy kid and another year will really help him develop his personality and adjust to a college environment."
-Neumann-Gorietti coach Carl Arrigale in an interview with SOR
The complete basketball schedule was released on Thursday and includes, in my opinion, a balanced non-conference schedule and always challenging Big East competition. In the OOC slate, the Scarlet Knights will play in the Chicago Challenge Invitational tournament which features Illinois and MVC power Bradley. In addition, RU has tough match-ups against North Carolina, Bob Huggins' Kansas State squad and away dates with local rivals Temple and Princeton. Rutgers' Big East play will be highlighted by home-and-home series with Seton Hall, Cincinnati and UConn.
The full schedule can be found here, on ScarletKnights.com
Make sure to check back at SOR.com for the latest basketball recruiting news. Also, feel free to join us in discussion on our basketball message boards.