After a disappointing showing in its inaugural season in the Big Ten, head coach Eddie Jordan and his Rutgers Scarlet Knights staff are looking to turn things around heading into the 2015-'16 season.
There is much to be forgotten after a 10-22 record - (2-16) in conference play. The turnaround will be an uphill climb, as the Scarlet Knights will enter the upcoming season forced to replace seniors Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack. With critical pieces no longer in the equation, the program will need new faces to help rejuvenate the program.
Coach Jordan and his staff have been getting after it on the recruiting trail. Their 2016 class has gotten off to a good start by landing a verbal commitment from ESPN four-star guard Kwe Parker. The 2015 class features depth and solid talent. The gem of the class that could help elevate Rutgers basketball is Lakeland, Florida (Faith Baptist Christian Academy) point guard Corey Sanders.
Sanders, a four-star recruit per ESPN.com comes into New Brunswick with elite-level explosiveness and athleticism. The Florida native is at his best when getting out on fast break opportunities and attacking the rim - perhaps punishing the rim. Sanders possesses an amazing vertical leap for a player only 6'2 that allows him to finish over taller defenders and provide the occasional highlight reel dunk.
Ball-handling is also a facet of the game that has been virtually mastered by Sanders. He can get himself out of tight spaces due to his quick feet and dribbling skills. Sanders gives the illusion that he is doing magic tricks on the court with his lightning quick crossover and flare for the game.
The 62nd-ranked player in the ESPN 2015 rankings, Sanders has top flight speed that allows him to change direction and push the ball up the court to attack opposing defenses. At the high school level, Sanders was essentially unstoppable.
Areas for Improvement
Deep range on his shot will have to improve in order for him to not be one dimensional on offense. Sanders will have the ability to push the ball, but expanding his game past the up tempo preference will be the indicator of long-term success in division one.
If Sanders played with as high of a motor on defense as he does on offense, there is no doubt he'd be amongst the five-star prospects in his class. The hyped freshman tends to take plays off on defense and lacks the consistent effort to become fully engaged on that side of the court.
With his prowess of running a fast break, it remains to be seen how running a half court offense at a higher level will work out. If defenses are disciplined to the game plan and get back on defense, Sanders will be forced to breakdown set defenses, which is something he's not as accustomed to.
Sanders will provide an unfathomable amount of anticipation and excitement to a Rutgers program that desperately needs it. It appears that the freshman is poised for a starting position right away, but will need to prove that he can run an offense in order for Rutgers to step away from league doormat status.
If his jump shot continues to evolve, look out. This is definitely a high major prospect. The level of success varies on his effort to improve on defense and with his shot making. Sanders has all of the gifts to excel at the next level. At the very least, he will make the casual fan want to tune into Rutgers basketball for a fun style of play and potential sportscenter top-10 play nominees.