RU progress impresses Jordan
With all the Rutgers men’s basketball program has endured since April, head coach Eddie Jordan is optimistic with how his team looks so far.
He was even a bit surprised at the Scarlet Knights’ output in practices and offseason workouts.
“I’m happy with our progress,” Jordan said at the Knights’ media day. “I’m happy with our behavior and our competiveness and I would like to say we are a little bit ahead of where I thought we would be. And that’s a credit to them being receptive, retaining the information and learning what they’re doing.”
Players who were on the team before Jordan arrived April 22 have admitted a noticeable learning curve.
Jordan brings his Princeton-style offense to Piscataway, a different approach from former head coach Mike Rice’s offensive philosophy.
In the Princeton offense, fast breaks are traded for back door cuts, constant motion and an emphasis on passing.
So Rutgers’ progress is promising, considering the combination of the new offense with five newcomers.
“If everyone’s together, you could build a bond with everyone on one team,” said junior guard Myles Mack.
But while the team has run against each other in practices, Rutgers has yet to face an actual opponent.
The Knights will scrimmage St. Peter’s College this Sunday and host Caldwell College for an exhibition Nov. 1.
So despite the optimism by Jordan, he wants to see Rutgers face another team to really judge the Knights’ progress.
“The only thing I’m missing is seeing an opponent up close,” Jordan said. “It’s just been us against us and I like our progress, I like our leadership and I like our development skill-wise, but I have to see an opponent to really get a true gauge of how we are, how we’re going to behave.”
Asked if this was a transition year for the program, which will move to the Big Ten after this season, Jordan made it clear he is only worried about Rutgers’ time in the AAC for now.
“I just feel that Rutgers is Rutgers. We could be in the Mars, in the Venus conference. I don’t care where we are,” Jordan said. “We respect our opponents in the American Athletic Conference, obviously, but we are concerned about Rutgers University. We know where we were, we know where we are today and we know where we’ll be next year. But that shouldn’t be a concern for them.”
Rutgers begins AAC play Jan. 1 against Temple.
Rutgers unveiled the Louis Brown Athletic Center’s new video board during media day.
The scoreboard features four video screens, while two vertical LED screens lay in opposite corners of the RAC.
“These upgrades have been a thrill,” said senior forward Wally Judge. “It’s even more excitement to add to the beginning of the season. Finally you can make a big play and then you can look up and see yourself actually doing it even though Coach might not like that. It’s just great to have.”
Jordan said he has not placed a timetable on when he will name team captains.
“It could be up to the first game. It could be up to Sunday,” Jordan said.
Mack and Judge seem likely candidates to receive the honor, as both played integral parts in keeping the roster somewhat intact after Rice’s firing.
Jordan also raved about Mack and Judge’s leadership during the preseason.
For more updates on the Rutgers men’s basketball team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @Bradly_D. For general Rutgers sports updates, follow @TargumSports.