Rutgers looks to improve with rebounds for upcoming season
As Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard said, “Board man gets paid.”
Rebounding is not only a crucial part of basketball, but also a vital necessity in a conference as tough as the Big Ten. One high note regarding the Rutgers men’s basketball team is that last year, on average, it out-rebounded its opponents by a margin of just less than five rebounds (39 RPG compared to 34.9 RPG).
Although the program has accumulated a number of losing records in the previous seasons, this statistic has been something that the Scarlet Knights have taken pride in. With the key addition of graduate student forward Akwasi Yeboah, expect those rebounding numbers to go up.
Despite having a solid margin against all teams in general, Rutgers only out-rebounded Big Ten opponents 37.4 RPG to 35.5 RPG. If the Knights expect to win multiple conference games this year, this number needs to improve.
With the resilience of a new team and a grit-and-grind culture setting in, it isn't impossible for Rutgers to build off of the previous year’s rebounding numbers.
Last season, the Knights' most efficient rebounder was Eugene Omoruyi with 6.8 RPG. He also led the team in total rebounds with 115.
Though his absence will be felt, expect returning sophomore center Myles Johnson to make a leap and lead the team in rebounding this year. He was the team’s second-most efficient rebounder last season and trailed Omoruyi by only five total rebounds for the whole year.
Another returning player looking to make a leap rebounding-wise is senior forward Shaq Carter. The 6-foot-9-inch, 250-pound forward averaged only 3.9 RPG last season. The senior leader is looking to improve from the season before, like he did in previous years.
Now that the team is lacking an interior force, expect Carter to step up and give Rutgers everything he’s got when it comes to crashing the glass.
Every successful program has one player who has dominates the glass for them during a whole season. This year, to be successful, the Knights have to find the player who is willing to do the little things that include the tasks of rebounding, diving for loose balls and setting charges.
When Rutgers finds its players to do the dirty work, expect big changes from the team itself. Unselfishness is contagious, and when one player sets the tone, everyone wants to follow.
With the season starting right around the corner, the Knights hope to avoid another losing season in a stacked conference. Success doesn’t happen overnight, but head coach Steve Pikiell hopes that his men are ready for battle when the season comes. Doing the little things will be an indicator of how successful Rutgers will be this year.
With new scoring threats joining the Knights, they will hope to put themselves on the map instead of being another team opponents just skip over when looking at their schedule.
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