Rutgers's first season in the Big Ten isn't one that many of the school's fans will want to remember. After an early victory over Penn State and a spectacular upset against Wisconsin, the Knights closed the season with 15 straight losses. With an effective field goal percentage of 43.6, Eddie Jordan's club owned one of the worst offenses not only in the Big Ten, but in the nation. That would be bleak enough if the Knights were bringing five starters back in 2016, but now they must watch Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack walk out the door. What will become of the Rutgers offense now?
Mack the spark plug and Jack the athletic big man were Rutgers's two most productive players in 2015. With Mack scoring 13.4 points per game, handing out 4.2 assists per game and being on the floor for 88.5 percent of his team's minutes, he's going to be tough for Rutgers to replace. On the other hand, junior combo guard Bishop Daniels was involved in a bigger chunk of possessions when he was on the floor (which was only 54 percent of the time). If Daniels can improve his long-range shooting, he could prove to be the leader and most valuable player on what will be a young Rutgers team in 2016. Mack will for sure be missed, but he wasn't always the most efficient player. Only 32 percent of his three-pointers found the bottom of the net, and with just 3.5 fouls drawn per 40 minutes, he wasn't drawing enough contact when he attacked the basket.
Due to his ability to attack defenders and score inside, Jack is a rarer talent than Mack and arguably more valuable to the Rutgers cause. That's why Jack is going to be tougher for the Knights to replace even though he wasn't the team's primary ball handler the way Mack was. Fortunately, last year's freshman class brought in a pair of centers for head coach Jordan to experiment with. If either Shaquille Doorson or Ibrahima Diallo can step up and contribute in the scoring and offensive rebounding categories, Jack's absence won't be felt as much.
Rutgers has some talented recruits coming in this year, led by point guard Corey Sanders. However, it's never easy for any team to replace its top two scorers. With Rutgers only winning a pair of conference games in 2015, the youth movement is welcome, but it's going to be an uphill battle for the Knights to compete in the Big Ten in 2016.