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2015-16 Big Ten Preview: Rutgers Scarlet Knights Backcourt

With last year's two biggest contributors moving on, the Knight should see a lot of young guard action this season.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Although Myles Mack was one of Rutgers's two best players in 2014-15 thanks to his ability to run the offense, draw fouls, and create for his teammates, the fact remains that the senior shot just 39 percent from the field. A lot of that was perhaps due to a lack of better offensive options and some awkward forced shots, but still, Mack shooting the ball did not produce results often enough for the Knights last year.

That's why there's reason to be optimistic about this year's younger backcourt. It might not have the experience and leadership that Mack brought to the RAC every game, but there is some untapped potential, and that's more important to a growing program like the one run by head coach Eddie Jordan.

Bishop Daniels, senior

One player who does have experience is Daniels, who last season averaged 8.4 points per game and shot 39 percent from the field in his first full Division I campaign. Prior to that, he spent time at Miami (FL) as well as a junior college in New York City, but now he's ready to step into his most important role yet as leader of the Rutgers backcourt.

Daniels played 25 minutes per game in 2014-15, but when he was on the floor, he posted a higher usage rate than Mack. That's a good sign, because he's likely to spend a lot of time with the ball in his hands in the upcoming season. Hopefully he'll either improve his long-range shooting (28 percent from beyond the arc) or his passing (fewer than two assists per game) over last year's figures.

Mike Williams, sophomore

As a freshman in 2014-15, Williams made the most of his 22 minutes per game of floor time by jacking up 100 three-point shots. It's fun to see that type of aggressiveness from a young kid, but when only 24 of those treys go through the hoop, it might be time to slow your role a little bit. Williams will continue to be asked to shoot the ball when paired with an experienced ball-handler like Daniels, but he's got to improve his selection if the Knights are going to improve on last year's conference-worst effective shooting percentage.

Corey Sanders, freshman

The future of the Rutgers program, Sanders chose the Knights over more than a dozen other offers. Although his natural position is point guard, it wouldn't be surprising to see Sanders see some time alongside Daniels just to get the freshman as much floor time as possible.

Since his best skill is attacking the rim, Sanders is a good compliment to shoot-first guys like Williams as well as Rutgers's young forwards, whom he can set up for easy layup attempts. The Knights aren't supposed to be very successful this year, but Sanders is a reason to pay attention to the team all season long.

Juntin Goode, freshman

A decidedly less exciting youngster than Sanders, Goode may nevertheless play an important role for the Knights this year. After redshirting in 2014-15, the shooting guard out of Virginia should at the very least provide Rutgers with someone who can consistently knock down an outside shot. That may not seem like much, but Jordan did not have anyone who could do that for him last year, so Goode fills a pressing need. If Sanders is as good as advertised at breaking down opposing defenses, he'll open up plenty of looks for Goode to capitalize on.

Jake Dadika, sophomore

Dadika joined the team last season as a preferred walk-on and played sparingly with just seven appearances and fewer than six minutes per game. He's your classic "Club Tril" guy who likely won't see any major minutes in competitive games. Still, Dadika is a good guy to have around just to work on the scout team and motivate the players above him on the depth chart.

Nigel Johnson, junior

A transfer student from Kansas State, Johnson has a chance to make a big impact with the Knights, but he'll have to wait until the 2016-17 campaign due to NCAA transfer rules. By then, Daniels will be out of eligibility, so Johnson will have a chance to start alongside Sanders in the Rutgers backcourt. Last year with the Wildcats, Johnson saw his minutes fluctuate until late in the season, when he was a major factor in upset victories over Kansas (20 points) and Iowa State (17 points).

Overall

There's probably not enough talent here for the Knights to escape the bottom third of the conference, but if Sanders is given the playing time he needs to shine, there will at least be some excitement in the RAC and plenty of chances for upsets in 2015-16. More than anything, Rutgers needs guys who can hit jumpers, so look for the addition of Goode as well as improvement from Williams and Daniels to help in that category.