A SEASON IN REVIEW
There are two ways to look at a school's recruiting class, the first involves how well the class stacks up against the rest of the league while the second way is whether or not the coaches were able to fill their team needs. The fall recruiting season ended with Rutgers receiving one signed letter of intent and one verbal commitment, neither of these players, Dominic Mejia nor Daevon Haskins, will be on next year's squad. The new Knights include top 10 fifth year combination forward, Cortez Davis of Maryland, underrated top 150 combination guard Cal Wooten of Detroit, Michigan, and Junior College top 100 and former Northwestern center, Harry Good. Throw in the possible appearance of former Cal center, Gabe Hughes, and this is a competitive class.
Villanova, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Connecticut all had top 35 nationally ranked classes. Each of these teams brought in several top 100 players plus Syracuse adds returnee Billy Edelin to solidify the point situation. Virginia Tech had a good class due to the number and quality of the athletes with Shawn Harris being the best of the crew of seven. Seton Hall is borderline top 50 this year. Boston College, St. Johns, Rutgers and Miami fall into the next group with St Johns dropping if Showtime Darryl Hill is unable to play due to academic ineligibility. Rutgers is probably just below the Johnnies if you don't count Hughes in the class and leap frogs over BC and the Johnnies if Gabe is counted. Next comes Miami, followed by a group of WVU, Providence, Pitt and Georgetown. If Jabbari Young does not show up on the WVU campus, the class drops to last in the Big East.
From the second standpoint, Rutgers may have even done better. The needs going into the coming season are a rebounder to help ease the loss of Rashod Kent and a scoring point to spell Mike Sherrod. Make no mistakes about it, you don't replace Rashod but Rutgers scored in both categories. Harry Good is a horse on the boards and was recruited by the likes of UCLA and Fresno State but wanted to come back East. Hopefully, his offense will catch up to his defense. He will be spending some time in Hawaii at Mike Newells Big Man Camp where he will be drilled in both offense and defense.
Cortez Davis is a mature combination forward that adds another dimension to your offense and has the ability to go to the boards. On offense he can put the ball on the floor or hit the outside shot. He is listed as a top 10 fifth year high school student-athlete that equates to about a top 50 or 60 fourth year player. He will push Ricky Shields, Jerome Coleman, Jason McCoy and Sean Axani for playing time. All Cortez needs is a year in the weight room and he will be able to compete with the best players in this league.
Everyone I've spoken with in the Midwest tells me that Cal Wooten is vastly underrated nationally. He was good enough to be named the Detroit PSAL player of the year, no small feat in any ones vocabulary. This kid can shoot and is the heir apparent to the trigger on the Rutgers Scuds. Jerome now holds the trigger and will relinquish it after this year to Cal. Bombs away, stand clear. One of the Midwest gurus said that a non-shooting Woo is no Woo at all. The Woo will have the green light once he gets comfortable. Throw into the mix that he is a great kid to boot.
The fourth new member will most likely be Gabe Hughes. Though he has not signed a letter of intent, he is expected on campus in late August. He played well at the start of last season for Cal until he had an injury and then never put it back together in an overcrowded frontcourt. He will be junior eligible for the 2003-2004 season.
So how did Rutgers do? You decide, but I think they did well considering how they started.