The Future is Now Present
Beatty crosses over once again at the foul line. 2 seconds. Beatty puts up a 10 footer for the win. GOOD! GOOD at the buzzer! James Beatty and Rutgers win in the Carrier Dome for the first time in Fred Hill's tenure. And the Dome crowd is silent! Sounds pretty good…doesn't it!
One thing all Rutgers (and Villanova) fans know is how good a recruiter Fred Hill is with high school talent. Now we all know how good he, and his staff (thanks to Jim Carr), is with recruiting JUCO talent as well. Fred has never gone after a JUCO player as hard as he did to fill a need until this year. James Beatty, one of the most sought after JUCO point guards in the nation, has now signed on to play basketball at the State University of New Jersey. He had offers from some of the best major programs out there, but chose to take the challenge of playing the key position on Fred Hill's Rutgers team rather than selecting Kentucky, LSU, Baylor, St. John's, or DePaul.
Unselfish, leader, vocal, accurate, quick, steady, good decisions, floor general, and good shot selection are all terms that apply to a great point guard. A point guard is in charge of making other players look better while leading the team down the floor. He's there to make that split decision at the end of a game to propel his team to victory. In reading an interview by Rachel George of Star News Online, you can tell he wants to be "the guy" that Rutgers has been looking for to help the team get to that next level. Described as a "vocal leader" on scout.com, James appears to be just what the doctor ordered for a Scarlet Knights team that has lacked that vocal point guard and has struggled to get players open and produce wins.
Standing 6' 2" and weighing in at about 190 lbs, Beatty is the perfect array of skills that Rutgers can use to turn the corner off of an improved statistical season, yet still disappointing record. The nucleus of the team is young and Beatty understands that and is committed to bringing a solid work ethic and leadership skill to the court with the hope that more players will be playing pick-up games and staying late to shoot around as Mike Rosario was last year. The challenge ahead for Beatty will be to get on the team, take that leadership role that he covets, and work alongside a lot of players who have been at Rutgers for 2-3 years. The prospect of that challenge is exciting to hear because, as a basketball fan, you never want to see a team with too many of the same personalities. Beatty looks to bring a more vocal and aggressive approach to a team that a lot of critics feel has been lacking aspect at RU in recent years.
The Big East has also seen its fair share of great point guards. Khalid El-Amin, Omar Cook, Erick Barkley, Marcus Williams, Jason Hart, Gerry McNamara, God Shammgod, Chris Thomas, Brandin Knight, and the ever elusive Shaheen Holloway highlight just some of the great leaders that have seen Big East conference courts for the past 15 years. A position that Rutgers hasn't been able to look at as one of strength for a very long time. A great point guard, which Beatty has shown the brilliance to become in his JUCO career, can lead their team to push them over that hump from mediocrity to greatness. All of those point guards did that for their colleges to lead them to the NCAA tournament, which is something Beatty will try to do at Rutgers. To have his name mentioned in that vein will mean he's achieved the goal of getting RU to "the tournament" and can stand among some of the best in Rutgers' and the Big East's past.
Beatty is also very excited to play against some of the best talent in the country in coming to the Big East conference. Every year the Big East welcomes and produces some of the best and most skillful players in the business so testing his skill at that level is something he looks forward to. As he tells Ms. George, "It's definitely exciting because night in and night out, I'm going to be able to play against some of the best players in the country. - I'm ready for the challenge and being able to play in places like Madison Square Garden." (varsitynow.starnewsonline.com/default.asp?item=2398532)
Tackling the Big East is something a person of his size and stature should be able to do being that he's not a small point guard by any means. He's also been preparing for his new challenge at the JUCO level by transforming himself into a stronger point guard who doesn't have to solely rely on handle and quickness. Just looking at him when he left high school at 6' and 175 lbs tells you he's grown, literally and figuratively, in those 2 years. The extra beef will come in very handy when dealing with other point guards, who measure up to an equal size and strength, in the Big East.
Playing against the talent in the Big East is one thing, but tackling the fans of Rutgers basketball may be something completely different. Beatty will have to handle the challenges of dealing with the fickle fans of NJ and getting them back into the seats to make the Louis Brown Athletic Center once again, "THE ROCKIN RAC!" If you read into his words and confidence, Beatty looks to take the bull by the horns and get those fans screamin' and stompin' in those bleachers once again. If he has his way, the days of watching Rob Hodgson and Quincy Douby miss last second 3s against Georgetown and Syracuse will be left in the rear view very quickly. As our new point guard stated in his interview with starnewsonline.com once again, "In my two years there, my goal is to win games. That's the ultimate goal is to win basketball games. To get Rutgers to the NCAA tournament would probably be my biggest goal right now." (varsitynow.starnewsonline.com/ default.asp?item=2398532) Bold statements that all Rutgers basketball fans would definitely enjoy seeing come true (along with a renovated RAC…wink wink).
So, from this long time Rutgers basketball fan, welcome to "the banks" James Beatty! We're glad to have you here, we look forward to seeing you at Midnight Madness, and we can't wait to see you lead us to victories the way former Rutgers JUCO transfers Joel Salvi and Jerome Coleman once did!
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