Still the new kid on the block, Rutgers struggled last season in the mighty Big Ten and this upcoming year isn't looking any better. Eddie Jordan's roster is not devoid of talent, but that talent definitely needs some polish if they are going to get out of the conference cellar. The frontcourt might be the area of most concern with only one proven starter.
Let's take a look at what to expect for the Scarlet Knights in the frontcourt.
Shaquille Doorson, Sophomore, Center
Who comes to mind when I mention a Dutchman known for his dunking ability? Probably Rik Smits, but soon Big Ten fans could be thinking of Doorson. Coming out of the Canarias Academy, which also produced Maryland's Michal Cekovsky and Minnesota's Gaston Diedhiou, Doorson was lauded for his physicality and athletic ability.
Last year, he played in 29 games and averaged 10.4 minutes off the bench. Almost all of his scoring comes right at the rim with put-backs and dunks, and his best game last year was a 6 point, 8 rebound performance as the Scarlet Knights were getting blown out by Seton Hall. The goal for still very raw Doorson this season and in the future will be to develop his post positioning and moves along with his range and basketball IQ. Shaq has a long way to go, but could have an impact for Rutgers this year and down the line as he continues to develop.
Ibrahima Diallo, RS Freshman, Center
Diallo is another international-born, from Senegal, center with a need to develop his game. The NCAA ruled him a partial qualifier last season, and he was forced to redshirt as he was not eligible to play in any games. Diallo is working on his strength, but is long and athletic. Expect him to see some time, along with Doorson, as a backup to Lewis at the 5. With a slightly more diverse skill set than Doorson, he might be able to step in at the 4 against a bigger team like Purdue, but I doubt we see that happen very often, if at all.
Greg Lewis, RS Senior, Forward/Center
The elder statesman for the Scarlet Knights, Lewis started every game for Rutgers last season. Lewis will have to be the leader of this young frontcourt group and he seems to be up to the task. Last season, he averaged 5.3 points per game, but this year I think we will see an increase in his workload and ability.
Lewis is a guy that could average double figures for this team, and he will likely need to if we don't see much development from the other players on this list. He scored a career-high 14 points and added 7 rebounds in a late season loss to Maryland last year. In that game he played 37 minutes, much higher than his average of 23.8. This season, I look for him to average around 30 minutes a game as he develops into one of the top players for this Rutgers team.
D.J. Foreman, Sophomore, Forward
Foreman played in all 32 games for Coach Jordan last year, and averaged 3.8 points in the process. Foreman has more range than any of the other frontcourt players and was actually 3-9 from beyond the arc last season. Foreman will compete for time at the 4 with incoming junior college transfer Deshawn Freeman, who is more of a wing. Foreman could also see time, as he did last year, at the 5 in smaller lineups. D.J. is a decent rebounder and attacks the rim with good agility for his size, but he will need to improve his strength and post moves if he is to have a significant impact inside during conference play.
There is some good news overall for this Rutgers frontcourt. While they will need to develop in the non-conference if they want to compete with any Big Ten big men, they luck out schedule-wise by only facing the best conference frontcourts once this year. Only one game against Purdue, Maryland, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Iowa and even Indiana means that they don't see a single frontcourt player from the BTPowerhouse 25 twice.