Monday, November 27, 2023

Weekly Big Ten Power Rankings Challenge (thru games played 11/26)

This season the folks at Rutgers Hoops Insider have teamed up with Minnesota hoops insiders from the Gopher Crew (@GopherCrew) to conduct a Weekly Big Ten Power Rankings Challenge.

Each week on every Monday, Rutgers Hoops Insider will post the rankings to the Rutgers Hoops Insider Twitter account. Please vote for which power rankings you prefer.

This is the second set of published power rankings by Rutgers Hoops Insider and Gopher Crew.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Rutgers needs to participate in Feast Week

photo courtesy of Rutgers Athletics

Fans have been longing for Rutgers to participate in a high-profile Feast Week MTE.

by Mark Remsa and Richard Kent

The last time Rutgers men's basketball participated in a Feast Week multi-team event (MTE) was during the 2015-16 season when Eddie Jordan was at the helm and the Scarlet Knights played in the MGM Grand Main Event in Las Vegas. Sure, Rutgers lost both games to Creighton and Clemson, but it was an opportunity for the Scarlet Knights to play quality competition on a neutral floor in front of a national audience.

Since Steve Pikiell has taken over and helped Rutgers basketball ascend to new heights and respectability, the Scarlet Knights have yet to participate in a Feast Week MTE.

In a postgame interview after Rutgers dismantled Howard last week, Pikiell stated the players have "schoolwork too they need to kind of catch up on" and "guys are banged up.. we'll give them a little time off" as reasons why this team will not participate in a Feast Week MTE.

Pikiell has always been a proponent of allowing his players to spend time with their families during the holidays, but this season his team has an unusually long break of nine days off until their next game against Saint Peter's on November 27th. 

While some of his statements are valid, the fan base has been longing for Rutgers to participate in a high-profile Feast Week MTE and Pikiell needs to get his future teams involved, especially next year's team.

Feast Week has largely grown into a popular tradition across college basketball and as we watch MTEs like the Maui Invitational, Battle 4 Atlantis, NIT Tip-Off Games, Myrtle Beach Invitational, Cancun Challenge, etc. it's fair to ask "where the hell is Rutgers" in all of this? 

Many of the Feast Week MTEs are filled with talented teams and they present a huge opportunity for teams to make an early season statement. All of the games are played in the national spotlight in unfamiliar settings on neutral floors and can certainly help boost a team's NCAA Tournament resume.


Next season, Pikiell will have his most talented roster to date as he has hauled in a Top 10 recruiting class for 2024, consisting of 5-star Ace Bailey, 4-star Lathan Sommerville, and 3-stars Bryce Dorth and Dylan Grant. Oh, let's not forget that he may also bring another 5-star in Dylan Harper to The Banks next season. So, what better way to prove doubters wrong that Rutgers deserves national attention next season by playing in a Feast Week MTE against some of the best competition in college basketball?

A Feast Week MTE would allow next year's team to make a statement early in the season, make them battle tested, and showcase their talents in front of a national audience.


It's no secret the fans want to see their beloved Rutgers hoops team play in a high-profile Feast Week MTE like the Maui Invitational, Battle 4 Atlantis, or Baha Mar Bahamas Championship. While next season is highly unlikely since most of the participants have already been selected for many of the higher profile MTEs, Rutgers really needs to make their case and push to become a participant for the years to come.

If Rutgers truly wants to take their basketball program to the next level, they need to start appearing in some of the higher profile Feast Week MTEs.


If travel or distance is a concern for Pikiell since he likes to keep his players local to spend time with their families for the holidays, then why not try to participate in an MTE close to home, perhaps New York or Philadelphia?

The NIT Tip-Off Games would be a wonderful option for Rutgers. For years, the NIT Tip-Off games have been played in New York, and this year's NIT Tip-Off Games were played at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn and consisted of several quality teams (Baylor, Florida, Pitt, etc.) that would surely help boost a team's NCAA Tournament resume.

The Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden could be another option for Rutgers as this year's field consisted of national champion Connecticut, Texas, Indiana and Louisville.

It may not be a high-profile MTE, but Penn hosts the Cathedral of College Basketball Classic at The Palestra in Philadelphia and it provides decent competition from mid-major programs (Belmont, Penn, etc.).


Not only do Feast Week MTEs give teams a chance to play quality competition, but they really help boost a team's NCAA Tournament resume. For years, Pikiell has been reluctant to play in neutral site games or away from The RAC and its comeback to nip Rutgers in the butt.

Last season, Rutgers played in one neutral floor out-of-conference game against Temple and lost, thus resulting in a Quadrant 3 (Q3) loss. The NCAA Tournament Committee was not impressed with their lone neutral site loss and weak out-of-conference schedule last season as they ultimately passed on Rutgers for the NCAA Tournament.

Had Rutgers possibly played in a Feast Week MTE last season and possibly played in 2-3 neutral site games giving them chances to pick up quality wins, the Scarlet Knights could have moved the needle and punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. Neutral site wins are like gold to the NCAA Tournament Committee, and they are taken highly into consideration for a team's NCAA Tournament resume.


It's been said many times before, Pikiell simply doesn't like playing away from The RAC. Pikiell loves the atmosphere at The RAC and uses it to his advantage when Rutgers plays their opponents, but at some point, he has to break the mold and get his teams on board with an MTE. Rutgers fans would love the opportunity to travel and support their team. If not during Feast Week, maybe another MTE?


Listen, you can't change a tiger's stripes, and Pikiell may be set in his ways, but we have seen him become a little more receptive to making changes to the out-of-conference schedule, and for the better. 

This season Rutgers will have played two neutral site and two road out-of-conference games, something fans have never seen before under Pikiell. This could be a positive sign towards his approach when it comes to scheduling out-of-conference games. 

The next step towards getting Rutgers on the national stage and improving the out-of-conference schedule would be for Pikiell to get next year's team involved in a Feast Week MTE.


UPDATE (11.27.23): Our very own insider Richard Kent has confirmed with sources that Rutgers will not be a participant in next year's Legends Classic in Brooklyn.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Rutgers improving team chemistry, but more to build on

photo courtesy of 1766 Athletics

Following the opening season loss to Princeton, Rutgers has tallied three consecutive wins while improving its overall team chemistry.

by Mark Remsa

For the first time under Steve Pikiell, Rutgers Men's Basketball opened its campaign against a difficult opponent and the loss to Princeton served as a learning lesson for the coaching staff and players. Although Princeton exposed some of Rutgers' weaknesses, what really hurt the Scarlet Knights in the season opener and became quite clear was the lack of team chemistry.

After the opening season loss to Princeton, many college basketball analysts have been quick to write off Rutgers. But with so many new faces to the program, it's completely understandable this team was going to need to develop its chemistry and familiarity with one another over the course of several games in the opening month of the season to really get things going in the right direction.

Rutgers is now 3-1 overall after tallying three wins against Boston U., Bryant, and Georgetown, and there's a noticeable difference in this team from opening night to now: team chemistry has improved.


Steve Pikiell's new look backcourt struggled mightily against Princeton as they lacked the ability to dictate tempo and push the ball up the court. The backcourt also committed needless turnovers from sloppy entry passes and poor ball handling. 

However, since the loss to Princeton, the backcourt has improved in each game. The backcourt did not have flawless performances in the victories over Boston U., Bryant, and Georgetown, but the backcourt grew its confidence. With its renowned confidence the backcourt dictated tempo, pushed the ball quickly in transition, and committed fewer turnovers.

The backcourt's best performance to date this season was this past Wednesday in Rutgers' 71-60 win over Georgetown in the last edition of the Gavitt Games. Jamichael Davis, Noah Fernandes, and Derek Simpson looked visibly comfortable working off one another as they easily broke free from Georgetown's press and moved the ball cleanly up the floor. 

The ball distribution by the backcourt against Georgetown helped generate good looks from deep for other players on the court as Rutgers drilled nine 3-pointers and the backcourt generated eight of the team's 11 total assists. Not only was this a solid performance offensively from the backcourt, but it was also a really good defensive performance. Davis, Fernandes, and Simpson registered six of the team's nine total steals and helped force Georgetown to commit 21 turnovers.


Aundre Hyatt has become a breath of fresh air for Rutgers over the team's last three games. Despite having a very poor performance against Princeton, Hyatt has emerged as the team's leader and major contributor which has helped propel Rutgers to victory in their last three games.

Through four games into the season, Hyatt is currently averaging 13.0 ppg, 36.4% from 3-point range, 6.3 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.0 spg, and 84.2% FT shooting. All of these numbers are vastly improved from last season, and although its only four games into the season, this is very encouraging and promising for a player that never garnered much attention in the offseason.

Not only has Hyatt's production improved, but there is noticeable calmness about him on the floor so far this season. Hyatt's veteran leadership has been paramount as he has helped keep his teammates calm, composed, and focused in each game.

There was a moment in last Wednesday's game as tensions escalated between Cliff Omoruyi and Georgetown's Supreme Cook, Hyatt immediately recognized the potential for an incident and quickly stepped in to diffuse the situation, calm down Omoruyi, and ultimately prevented a technical foul.


No matter what, Gavin Griffiths was always going to be an integral part to this team in the 2023-24 season. There were high expectations of the freshman immediately from the start. 

There were very few questions circling around Griffiths' offensive skillset, after all he was hailed as one of the best shooters in the 2023 recruiting class. But there were questions about his defense, and entering the season Griffiths even stated, "when I first got here defense was one of my weaknesses". Although defense still remains an issue, its something Griffiths will improve upon throughout the season.

In his first regular season appearance against Princeton, Griffiths looked lost like a deer in the headlights. It almost appeared as if the game was too fast for Griffiths and he couldn't keep up defensively. Griffiths only registered 14 minutes in the game.

Since the Princeton, Griffiths has made some strides and his slightly improved his defense one game at a time. He tallied 4 rebounds and 1 block in each game against Boston U. and Bryant. Although it won't show up in the box score, Griffiths defensive positioning also improved in those games as well, including the most recent game against Georgetown.

As Steve Pikiell and his coaching staff continue to work with Griffiths on defense, there is no question that his offense has been spectacular. Griffiths bombarded Boston U. with 25 points as he hit 9-of-15 shots from the floor, including 3-of-7 from 3-point range. Griffiths also registered 12 points and buried two clutch 3-point shots to help Rutgers win over Georgetown.

Griffiths has been a steady contributor for Rutgers on the offensive end, and his shot creating ability and movement on the floor has picked up. Griffiths has been able to read the floor well, and to find himself opportunities for quality shots. As Griffiths continues to grow and develop as a player, he is going to become a legitimate force for Rutgers in the Big Ten.


The frontcourt has had some issues this season, and chemistry will likely improve as the season progresses but it has been somewhat of an underwhelming start for All-Big Ten center Cliff Omoruyi.

Through four games into the season, Omoruyi is solidly averaging 9.5 ppg and 8.3 rpg but his shooting around the basket has been below average (53.3%) and free-throw shooting has been suspect so far (50%).

What has also become an issue for Cliff Omoruyi in the last few games has looked like a developing trend as he has picked up two cheap fouls early in each game. 

In the game against Bryant, Omoruyi picked up two fouls within 2:51 into the game and was forced to sit the bench the majority of the first half. If Rutgers is to have any success going forward against tougher opponents, Omoruyi needs to avoid committing early fouls in games. A lot of the offense runs through Omoruyi, and he is also one of the defensive catalysts on this year's team. If he's sitting on the bench because of foul issues early in the game, it definitely hurts Rutgers.

It has been refreshing to watch Antwone Woolfolk this season, as second year big man has vastly improved his game this season. Woolfolk has been a steady contributor rebounding the ball, making defensive stops, and moving up and down the floor fluidly. Woolfolk has done such a great job this season, it's not surprising to see him starting or inserted into the rotation with Omoruyi on the floor as well.

As Omoruyi and Woolfolk learn to play off each other in games, the chemistry will improve and they could become a major force for opponents. 

Rutgers eagerly awaits the return of defensive stalwart Mawot Mag to the frontcourt. Mag is not only one of the best defensive players on the roster, but he was also one of Rutgers best 2-point shooters last season. Once Mag returns to the lineup, the frontcourt will receive a much needed boost and will have quality depth.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Q&A with super fan Dave White

The 2023-24 college basketball season is right around the corner, and what better way to discuss Rutgers men's basketball than to do a Q&A with author and super fan Dave White.

Dave White is an award-winning author and an educator in the New Jersey Public School system. White previously attended Rutgers and has become a massive fan of the men's basketball program. He previously wrote columns and provided his post-game thoughts on Rutgers hoops for SB Nation's On The Banks. In 2021, White was elected to the inaugural class of the Rutgers Fan Hall of Fame.

Please check out Dave's work at and you can follow him on Twitter @Dave_White.

Rutgers Hoops Insider (RHI): Dave, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this Q&A with me today, it really means a lot. Folks across Rutgers Nation should know by now, you are one of the biggest Rutgers basketball fans out there. Since you’re such a big Rutgers fan, you were voted into the inaugural class of the Rutgers Fan Hall of Fame in 2021. Can you recall a time when you first became a fan of Rutgers basketball? Did you become a fan of Rutgers basketball before you attended the college or while you attended?

Dave White (DW):  I became a fan my freshman year!  I grew up in a hoops family, my dad went to Duke for grad school and was a die hard.  So when I attended RU, I quickly started following the team, but it didn't really click until Geoff Billet beat Georgetown on a buzzer beater in the Big East Tournament.  We didn't have Twitter back then, but we had the internet and I saw the highlights there!

RHI: What are some of your favorite moments in Rutgers basketball history that you’ve witnessed as a fan?

DW: Beating UConn and Syracuse back to back in Gary Waters' first season was what sold me on getting season tickets. Herve Lamizana's bank shot to beat the Melo lead Orange a year later was awesome.  Quincy Douby's insane junior year when his floater was falling and it felt like he could pull up from anywhere. But my all-time favorite sporting event I've ever attended was the Ron Harper Jr. half court shot to beat #1 Purdue. Just an amazing moment and game.

RHI: I understand your eldest son is a Rutgers hoops fan as well. Can you speak on his behalf and tell us who his favorite Rutgers player is and why?

DW: Both of my sons are Rutgers fans!  The little one attended his first practice this year, and my oldest is a Geo Baker fan. My son started to catch on when Pikiell and crew started to turn the program around. And Geo was the face of that.  We've met Geo a handful of times and he is a great guy and a great player. My son loves him. This year he says he's going to focus on Noah Fernandes. The little one loves Cliff.

RHI: You were previously a writer for On The Banks (OTB), SB Nation’s Rutgers sports page, where you wrote columns sharing your Rutgers basketball post-game thoughts. I really enjoyed reading those columns because you provided a different perspective, sometimes different than what most fans were feeling after a big win or loss. Will we ever see you write something like that ever again?

DW: I've been tied up working on my-hopefully-seventh novel, but never say never!

RHI: Throughout the offseason we heard from analysts and sports writers how different this year’s Rutgers hoops team will be with many of their foundational players gone except for Cliff Omoruyi and Mawot Mag. They are expected to be deep in the backcourt with faster and quicker guards. Players at the wing right now are unproven but have serious potential and could develop into a threat for other teams. The frontcourt appears to be a major strength this year with the return of Omoruyi, one of the best centers in all of college basketball. With all of that being said, what expectations do you have of this team for the upcoming season? Which players are you looking forward to watching the most?

DW: My first expectation is always fun. I love close games! After the Eddie Jordan era, I will never take that for granted again. That said, I think this team has the potential to be very good. Pikiell teams usually end up on the bubble and I think this will be no different, but I think they will be a lot better in February than in November.  I can't wait to see Gavin Griffiths on the court and if he can really help the team roll.

RHI: There are a lot of unknowns about this team because there are so many new faces to the program. Do you think this team needs to find its own identity or establish its own identity? Typically, Rutgers is known for playing hard-nosed defense and grinding down their opponents. Do you see that style of basketball being played this year?

DW: I know they are fast, but Pikiell teams are always going to defend.  If they can turn the opposition over, they're going to run, but I don't think this team will not defend.  Pikes will have them defending.

RHI: Steve Pikiell and his coaching staff were busy in the offseason as they had to scour the transfer portal to find the right players that fit well in this program. They were able to secure commitments from transfers Noah Fernandes, Austin Williams, and Emmanuel Ogbole. Of the three transfers, which player do you think will make the biggest impact on the program this season? (Note: Jeremiah Williams committed in the offseason but is unlikely to see action this year due to pending waiver approval by the NCAA.)

DW: Fernandes is the starting point guard and has that grit Pikes loves, so I think he will really impact the team, but keep your eye on Austin Williams.  I think he has some bulldog in him too. Ogbole is hurt and may not be back until the new year.

RHI: There’s been a lot of praise for how well Derek Simpson and Antwone Woolkfolk have improved and developed in the offseason. Do you think these guys are poised to have a big season this year for Rutgers? What excites you the most about Derek Simpson? Antwone Woolfolk?

DW: Simpson is so fast and knows the system. He's primed to get moving and lead the squad.  And I think Woolfolk has the right build for this team. He can pass and get up and down the court. I'm interested to see if he also gets some time at the four.

RHI: Freshmen Gavin Griffiths and Jamichael Davis are expected to play big minutes this year. Each one of them brings a lot of upside to the team due to their unique skills and athleticism. I think non-conference play will present an opportunity for them to build and grow their confidence on the court but when conference play comes around things could get tough because the Big Ten has always been a tough, physical basketball conference. Do you think newcomers Gavin Griffiths and Jamichael Davis will adjust immediately to conference play? Or do you think they’ll go through some growing pains like most freshmen?

DW: Everyone goes through growing pains.  Look at Geo and Ron and Caleb.  Look at Simpson last year.  I imagine these two will be no different, but I look forward to watching them.

RHI: This year’s schedule is tough. Pikiell scheduled slightly more difficult than last year in the non-conference and the Big Ten did zero favors for Rutgers from January to February in conference play. How do you see Rutgers finishing in the non-conference portion of the schedule? How do you think Rutgers will do in the conference?

DW: Man, I don't jinx the team with predictions LOL.  I know that's a cop out.  Sorry!

RHI: Which games are you looking forward to the most in the non-conference schedule? Will you be in attendance for those games?

DW: I have season tickets so I'll be at the home games.  I'm really looking forward to Princeton tonight!

RHI: Which games are you looking forward to the most in the Big Ten schedule? Will you be in attendance for those games?

DW: The building is going to be rocking for that noon (or is it 1) Purdue game.  I'll be there.

RHI: I think Rutgers is going to have a solid season, and I think this roster is vastly underrated. I see Rutgers finishing 20-11 overall, 9-2 in the non-conference, and 11-9 in the Big Ten. In my opinion, I think Rutgers will lock up a double-digit seed in the NCAA Tournament, potentially playing in the First Four in Dayton. After it’s all said and done, where do you see Rutgers at the end of the season?

DW: Rutgers is going to be somewhere on the bubble I bet.  But that's as far as I go in terms of predictions.

RHI: Let’s say if Rutgers were to miss the NCAA Tournament this season and make the NIT a second year in a row, would you be disappointed?

DW: As long as they're fun, I'll be happy, but the NIT would be a disappointment, depending on how the season plays out.  Last year it was because we felt snubbed.  It all depends on the journey.

RHI: Dave, thanks again for doing this Q&A with me. Let’s do this again at some point during the season.

DW: Thank you!

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Freshmen Griffiths, Davis vital to Rutgers success this season

photo courtesy of Rutgers Athletics

Freshmen Gavin Griffiths and Jamichael Davis are expected to take on big roles this upcoming season, and their on court performance this season will be vital for Rutgers Men's Basketball to have a successful year.

by Mark Remsa

By mid-September, most college basketball preview magazines have already hit the shelves and online media outlets have released their projections with forecasts for each NCAA Division I team as well as impact players to watch for the upcoming season. Many of the magazines and online media outlets tabbed Rutgers to finish in the bottom half of the Big Ten, projected the Scarlet Knights to earn another trip to the NIT, and continued to pose question marks about Steve Pikiell's roster. There was some praise in the previews for four-star stud Gavin Griffiths, currently one of the highest rated recruits in Rutgers hoops history. But, there was almost little to zero mention of newcomer Jamichael Davis, a three-star speedy guard from Georgia. However, those close to the program and who follow it know these two Freshmen are likely going to be vital for Rutgers to have a successful campaign this season.

It's quite obvious big man Cliff Omoruyi and defensive stalwart Mawot Mag immediately come to mind when you think of high impact players on this year's Rutgers squad, and rightfully so, they are major pieces to the roster, but if this year's team is to play at a higher tempo, drive the lane, convert shots from the perimeter, and stay active on defense there is no question Gavin Griffiths and Jamichael Davis will have a major impact.


When Jamichael Davis committed to Rutgers in December of last year, his commitment struck the fan base as a surprise. The Georgia guard was relatively unknown, was unranked on most recruiting platforms, and at the time of his recruitment finding footage of Davis on his AAU and high school teams was rare. Other than Rutgers, he was offered by only one high-major in Auburn and offers from multiple mid-majors, including VCU, Wichita State, Kennesaw State, UAB, and McNeese State.

Although, little was known about Davis, more information and video footage of him was released and fans became more familiar with his game. He became known for his defensive prowess, his quickness, and playmaking ability.

"We're so excited to add J-Mike to The Knighthood," Rutgers head coach said in a statement released by Rutgers Athletics. "J-Mike is an explosive guard with terrific vision. He plays with tenacity on the defensive end and is a great teammate. He can do a lot of things on the basketball court, and he is one of the great competitors. We've added another great basketball player with an exciting family to Rutgers Nation."

Davis was a prolific scorer during his high school career, but if you ask any of his previous coaches from Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe or McEachern, he was known best for his defense and his ability to disrupt passing lanes and defensive positioning. 

Some believe Davis' style of game is reminiscent of the recent Rutgers guard Jacob Young, who was also known for his speed and defensive prowess. Jacob Young who had an incredible 2020-21 season, was the catalyst who helped catapult Rutgers into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 30 years.

It's already become quite evident Jamichael Davis is going to be an intricate piece to this season's team's success. In a late October exhibition game against St. John's, Jamichael Davis logged 34 minutes, scored a game high 16 points, committed zero turnovers, and tallied 6 rebounds, which was second to Cliff Omoruyi.

According to Jerry Carino (of the Asbury Park Press), Jonathan Givony, an ESPN NBA Draft analyst, was in attendance for the game and felt Davis was "the best player on the floor for Rutgers". Givony shared on Twitter, "he's going to make an immediate impact it looks like with his handle, speed, and scoring instincts. Lived in the paint and held his own defensively."

Naturally, Davis was strong when attacking the rim offensively, drew multiple fouls to earn trips to the free-throw line, and avoided heavy pressure full court pressure from St. John's. Last season, Rutgers struggled at times to earn trips to the free-throw line, struggled in their half-court offense, and they lacked aggression when attacking the rim thus forcing themselves to take too many jump shots with the shot clock close to expiring. Rutgers fans will surely be pleased if Davis can deliver performances each night like he did in the exhibition game against St. John's.

photo courtesy of Rutgers Athletics


Gavin Griffiths, Pikiell's most highly coveted recruit to date, has already been expected by Rutgers Nation to make an immediate impact on this year's season. The four-star recruit out of West Hartford, CT has been hailed by many recruiting platforms as the purest shooter in the 2023 recruiting class and has incredible athleticism. Ant Wright of the Ant Wright Media Group included Griffiths in his "Five High Impact Big Ten Freshmen" list for the upcoming season. During Rutgers media day, Pikiell hailed Griffiths as "the most talented guy we've signed here during my tenure."

Although known mostly for his offense, Pikiell knows he will have to improve defensively. Griffiths admitted during Rutgers media day, "when I first got here defense was one of my weaknesses". Rutgers fans are hoping Pikiell, a master-class at teaching defense, can help Griffiths hone the necessary defensive tactics he'll need to become a force in the Big Ten.

In the exhibition game against St. John's, Griffiths showcased some of his brilliance and abilities. Griffiths logged 34 minutes, scored 14 points, went 3-of-8 from beyond the arc, committed only 2 personal fouls, and grabbed 5 boards. Griffiths started the game cold from the floor but began to heat up in the second half and sank a one-handed floater from the baseline, an unguardable shot reminiscent of Rutgers great Quincy Douby, according to Jerry Carino.

Griffiths will be relied on heavily this season for scoring production for Rutgers. Rutgers Nation can expect Griffiths to shoot often from the perimeter, but he also thrives in creating space in taking shots directly off-the-dribble. Griffiths is an extremely versatile player who has band-handling ability and at times can play in the backcourt, but will mostly be seen at the wing. Last year production at the wing struggled at times with the lack of play creating ability and low percentage three-point shooting. Griffiths could be the answer to those issues this season. 

Rutgers has yet to see a player as versatile as Griffiths, and while he is extremely gifted on the offensive end of the ball, defense will come natural to him as he adjusts through the duration of the season and develops through his progressions.


This upcoming season is certainly going to be an exciting one but never before in the Pikiell-era have two Freshmen entered a season with such a heavy reliance where they will be needed tremendously to help in all facets of the game, especially in scoring production and on the defensive end of the ball. After losing two major pieces in the backcourt to the transfer portal, Jamichael Davis adds a new dimension to the Rutgers offense with his speed and great vision, while Gavin Griffiths has showcased his range and the ability to handle the ball in tight spaces. There is no doubt these Freshmen will feel the weight of added pressure, and their ability to thrive in big games and big moments will surely make or break this Rutgers basketball team this season.