The Detroit Pistons added former D-league player Kadeem Jack to their Summer League roster, making him the lone knight to represent the Rutgers basketball program. Not a single Scarlet Knight has played in the NBA in the last two seasons so a lot of pressure is placed on Jack's shoulders. Should he return to the D-league after the summer session, it leaves the possibility of a chance to play in the NBA.
Only ten NBA players have come from Rutgers, with just one, John Battle, carving out a career of ten years or more. Rutgers most recent drafted player was Hamady N'Diaye, drafted 56th overall to the Washington Wizards in the 2010 draft. He retired in 2014.
Kadeem Jack spent four years at Rutgers University. As a freshman and sophomore he battled for minutes off the bench but finally got the starting forward spot for his junior year. He finished second in scoring with 14.3 points and first in rebounding with 6.8 boards per game. Despite personal success, the team finished 12-21 and 5-13 in conference play. His senior year saw him dip in production with a seven percent drop in his shooting percentage. He finished second in scoring with 13 points per game and second in rebounding with 6.4 per game. Rutgers finished with an abysmal 10-22 record and a 2-16 record in the Big Ten conference.
It's hard to be recognized on such a losing team, but Jack broke through to make a name for himself. He unfortunately went undrafted but signed with the Indiana Pacers a few weeks before the 2015 season started. The Pacers waived him after one preseason game and sent him to their D-league team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
He marched forward with the Ants through 15 games, averaging just 5.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 12 minutes per game. When traded to the Reno Bighorns his production skyrocketed. He put up 10.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in just 15 minutes on 62 percent shooting.
Now Kadeem Jack is suiting up for the Detroit Pistons in hopes for a roster spot. While it remains a long shot, Jack's style perfectly fits in the Detroit offense as his strong post play and ability to stretch the floor balances out Andre Drummond's low post presence. Detroit does not want another Greg Monroe sharing the front court with their franchise player.
His rebounding leaves something to be desired along with his ball handling, but those flaws perfectly fall into Piston's strengths. Ersan Ilyasova, Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris all fit that role perfectly.
The Pistons Summer League started July 2 with a convincing win over the Knicks 81-49. Jack did not play due to coaches decision. Hopefully in the near future he gets some strong minutes in play.