Rutgers head basketball coach Steve Pikiell has just two scholarships to play with in his first season at the helm of the Scarlet Knights. The class of 2018 is where Pikiell can really start to leave his mark on the program as he has five scholarships at his disposal.
As of Tuesday, one of those five scholarships has been spoken for as 6-foot-9-inch Mamadou Doucoure has committed to play at Rutgers.
Doucoure currently attends Our Savior New American on Long Island. So if Rutgers really is “New York’s Big Ten University”, then utilizing the hotbed of recruiting just across the Hudson River may just cut down on the eye-rolling that occurs when the preceding statement is uttered in public.
According to Adam Zagoria’s article, Doucoure is a versatile forward who already has good size and is currently averaging 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game in the early stages of his high school junior campaign.
Rutgers assistant coach Brandin Knight was credited as the successful recruiter of Doucoure, who seems thrilled to have the opportunity to suit up for the Scarlet Knights in a couple of seasons, according to his high school coach Mark Carter.
Other big name schools were trying to court the services of Doucoure. Regionally, Rutgers had to stave off the likes of St. John’s, UConn, Pitt, Seton Hall, and Maryland.
Rutgers basketball appears to be on the upswing of late. The current team is 11-1 on the season in what has to be the surprise of the current college basketball season. The Scarlet Knights must capitalize on the current state of optimism around the program and bring in guys that can help build and sustain a program.
Doucoure, who according to 247Sports, is a four-star recruit, the No.6 center for 2018, and the No.3 player in New York for that class, certainly has the prospects of being a program-building player.
This is a huge pickup for Rutgers and one that could very well put the Scarlet Knights on the right track to rebuilding its pedigree on the basketball court.