The new era is officially underway in New Jersey as Steve Pikiell picked up his first commitment as Rutgers coach from Roselle Catholic forward Matt Bullock on March 26th. Bullock is an under-recruited, tough-minded and multi-talented senior who becomes the first New Jersey player to commit to Rutgers since Myles Mack in 2011.
It took four days after he was introduced as Rutgers' new coach for Pikiell to do what predecessor Eddie Jordan couldn't, land a New Jersey prep star. The rebuild will be long for Pikiell but it is nice to see the process headed in the right direction.
Here's a breakdown of Bullock what he could bring to the table as the Knights look to make a dent in the Big Ten for the first time in program history.
Bullock is a 6'4 230 small forward out of Elizabeth, NJ who is only rated two stars according ESPN. a 64 rating is what makes Bullock tough minded.
According to scouting reports he will be a major mismatch problem. He possesses a wide, strong frame and yet has the ability to handle and pass the ball off the dribble. He was used as a point forward in his high school days. He's powerful and capable of imposing his will when he drives and he can bring smaller guards to the block. He also has fantastic hands and is athletic in the open floor. That is the good.
On the other hand, he's a player without a true position, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Physically, he's built like more of an undersized 4, but offensively he operates primarily with the ball in his hands on the perimeter. He's not a naturally good shooter and lacks the speed to blow by most defenders off the dribble. Defensively, his lack of quickness could be exploited against wings, while he lacks the size to match up with most fours.
Because he is out of Elizabeth, N.J. he will be playing close to home, which should be an advantage. With his size, body type and skill set he's a very unique player that has the ability to create multiple mismatch problems on the floor. He also has some clear liabilities though and so he'll need to be utilized in very specific ways in order to be effective.
As I mentioned previously, its going to be a long rebuild for Pikiell. Bullock is the first of the six scholarships Pikiell has to work with for the class of 2016. Originally, Issa Thiam and Jahlil Tripp were committed. After the coaching change, it is believed that Tripp is no longer being considered but Thiam remains a recruiting target for the new Scarlet Knights coach.
If Corey Sanders doesn't end up going to the draft, a decision that will have to be made by May 25th. The inaugural season in Piscataway for Pikiell shouldn't be as bad as last year. Sanders along with a few freshmen should lead the rebuild in year one.