Rutgers Preview Capsule
Last season: 15-18, ties most wins since 2012-13.
Nickname: Scarlet Knights.
Coach: Steve Pikiell.
Conference: Big Ten.
Who’s gone: C C.J. Gettys, G Nigel Johnson (graduate transfer, Virginia), F Jonathan Laurent, G Khalil Batie, C Ibrahima Diallo.
Who’s back: G Corey Sanders. The junior led the Scarlet Knights with team-high 12.8; F Deshawn Freeman. Athletic senior averaged 11.1 points in 33 games; G Mike Williams. The streaky shooting guard averaged 9.4 points. Fs Candido Sa, Issa Thiam, Shaquille Doorson and Eugene Omoruyi all played in 30-plus games last season but were minor contributors.
Who’s new: G Soug Mensah. Junior college transfer will provide depth at guard. Freshmen F Mamadou Doucoure and C Myles Johnson give Rutgers big bodies up front. The 6-foot-9 Doucoure averaged 11 points, 14 rebounds and 3.0 blocks as a senior at Our Savior New American School on Long Island. The 6-10 Johnson played at Long Beach (California) Polytechnic High School. He had eight points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks against a nationally-ranked Chino Hills in the playoffs. Freshman G Geo Baker will get playing time.
The Skinny: Rutgers has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1991, the year Pikiell started his coaching career as an assistant at Connecticut. The Scarlet Knights have been picked to finish last in the conference. Getting more than three conference wins the season would be an improvement. Making the NIT for the first time since 2006 would be a major success.