New Members of the Rutgers' 2013-2014 Basketball Team

Rutgers looks to recover from its scandal-ridden offseason

As an avid Rutgers basketball fan, I find it quite upsetting to see a once promising season end with scandal. Having began the season 12-4 including 3-2 in the Big East, Rutgers looked as though they were going to elevate themselves from the pits of the conference. With early Big East wins over Pittsburgh, South Florida, and St. Johns and a controversial 69-66 loss to a strong Notre Dame team, Rutgers looked like an early contender and was primed to make a postseason run in either the NIT or NCAA Tournament. However a string of tough losses to good Big East teams in which they would squander early leads in the second half sent Rutgers back to the bottom of the conference. Mired by a long losing streak, the 2013 Rutgers squad faced another setback with the loss of their leading scorer, Eli Carter, to injury. With a few wins late in the season, including victories over Seton Hall and DePaul in the Big East Tournament, Rutgers ended their season 15-16(5-13).

With great optimism for next season, Rutgers basketball was rocked by scandal as Coach Mike Rice was seen spewing homophobic slurs and throwing basketballs at players in videos released to public. Following this, Coach Rice was fired and Athletic Director Tim Pernetti immediately resigned. Several members of the Rutgers squad including Eli Carter, Jerome Seagears, Mike Poole, Derrick Randall, and Vincent Garrett transferred from Rutgers.

With the program in shambles, new Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan along with returning veterans Myles Mack, Kadeem Jack, and Wally Judge look to rebuild the program. With the recommitment of Jerome Seagears and the commitments of three other recruits, Rutgers looks as though it will recover from such a tumultuous offseason. The three additions to the 2013-2014 roster include Junior Etou, Craig Brown, and D’Von Campbell.

Junior Etou, a three star recruit and 6-7 210 power forward, has been praised for his toughness in the paint. Etou, who is the cousin of Serge Ibaka, plays in much the same manner as him. Much like his cousin, Etou is both a strong rebounder and blocker. Having averaged 14.3 rebounds a game at Bishop O’Connell(VA) last year, Etou will provide Coach Jordan with a strong presence in the paint. Having played for Coach Jordan previously, Etou’s familiarity with the Rutgers coach was the deciding factor for his decision to play for the Scarlet Knights.

In addition to Etou, Coach Jordan has received the commitments of two Junior College players, Craig Brown and D’Vonn Campbell. Both excelled at the JUCO level and look forward to playing at Rutgers next season. Craig Brown, the 6-5 220 pound small forward, will provide Rutgers with another scoring option. At Broward College last year, Brown averaged 18 points and 8 rebounds a game. Coach Jordan stated earlier, “He is a physical, do-it-all type of player that will bring experience to the roster.” Brown’s experience will help bring some assistance for the perimeter game. The other Junior College transfer, D’Vonn Campbell, has drawn praise for both his passing and shooting skills. The 6-0 174 pound guard averaged 12.1 points and 4.0 assists last year at Hutchinson Community College(Ka.). Of the signing, Coach Jordan commented, “He’s a quality young man who will be an asset to our backcourt. He’s quick, competitive and has experience.” Campbell’s quickness and playmaking abilities will help Rutgers in the backcourt.

Although the 2013 recruiting class for Rutgers does not include any big name recruits, the combination of experience and toughness in the three recruits should provide Rutgers with much needed help. Junior Etou, Craig Brown, and D’Vonn Campbell all should factor into the game and should have immediate impacts for the Scarlet Knights. Alongside the returning Rutgers squad, these three recruits and Coach Eddie Jordan will attempt to keep Rutgers competitive.