The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are in a bit of disarray after coming off the unfortunate news of junior Deshawn Freeman being sidelined for two weeks due to a sore knee and after the 84-55 debacle at the hands of the Seton Hall Pirates this past Saturday - the loss marked the fourth in a row for the Scarlet Knights. Head coach Eddie Jordan and company are left scratching their heads looking for better effort and a method on how to ease the pain heading into the final stretch of the non-conference slate.
Highly-touted freshman point guard Corey Sanders has been a steady presence in the backcourt, and has done a terrific job focusing on the defensive end and getting teammates involved before looking to establish his personal stat line.
Sanders and Freeman have played pivotal roles in getting Rutgers as close to victory as possible. Senior big man Greg Lewis has shown flashes of being a solid interior rebounder and creating extra possessions. With injuries come opportunities for others to step up and fill positions in need. Freshman Jonathan Laurent has used his athleticism and length to make an impact off the bench, but at times, the rest of the bench has been lackluster. In a dire time of need, senior guard Bishop Daniels needs to re-emerge as the dynamic scoring guard that he can be.
Daniels possesses the scoring acumen necessary to provide a spark for the Scarlet Knights, but has fallen victim of a multi-game slump - since scoring 17 points against Creighton Daniels has totaled only 10 points in the last three games. Scoring and providing a spark is in Daniels' arsenal, as evident by his 21 point, eight rebound and five steal outing in November against St. John's.
On November 23rd against Creighton, Daniels tallied 17 points on seven made field goals and shooting a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc. Not only is Daniels a capable scorer, but he's also shown that he can be efficient in that manner as well - all of his production against the Blue Jays came in just 16 minutes of play.
With a recent slump of three single digit scoring columns and diminishing minutes per game, Daniels needs to find a way to make an impact with the rigorous Big Ten looming. With a point guard who isn't afraid to push the ball, perhaps it would be pertinent to switch to a faster style of play.
Rutgers found success against St. John's by generating fast break points. Albeit in a loss, the Scarlet Knights were able to extend a lead to double digits thanks in large part to the play of Daniels. The Word of God Christian Academy product found a way to make an impact by getting out in transition and by attacking in half court sets as well.
Rutgers needs to figure out how to better utilize their personnel as they get closer to Big Ten competition. The Scarlet Knights tallied 22 fast break points through their current four game losing streak - they tallied 14 fast break points against St John's and 18 against Howard.
Corey Sanders has done a marvelous job at leading the Scarlet Knights as a true freshman, but there is work to be done when guiding a team to victory on limited fast break opportunities and relying on half court sets. Sanders flourishes in a wide open style, as does Daniels. If Rutgers can implement a sustain success with a fast tempo style, Daniels could be a major cog in providing the spark necessary to negate the aftershock of a multi-game losing streak.