The Rutgers Scarlet Knights received their second commitment for the class of 2017 with point guard Soufiane Mensah, a native of France. First year head coach Steve Pikiell had just two scholarships to play with in his first full class, (barring any transfers from the team in the upcoming off-season) and his focus was clearly on improving the point guard position on his team.
Mensah, who is currently playing for Marshalltown Community College in Iowa, will be immediately available to play next season. Rutgers received the commitment from Mensah last week, who is listed as 6-foot-2-inches.
The Scarlet Knights currently have two scholarship point guards on the roster in redshirt junior Nigel Johnson and sophomore Corey Sanders. Johnson currently leads the team with 11.9 points per game while Sanders is third on the team averaging 11.4 points.
Mensah will also be the seventh international player on Rutgers’ roster, he’ll also be the third junior college transfer. He averaged 9.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game in his first season at the NJCAA level.
Mensah shot well from the field at a 47.6-percent clip, but shot just 29-percent from 3-point range and a woeful 47.9-percent from the free throw line. This season he has boosted all of his stats, except for outside shooting, as he is averaging 11.5 points, 6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists.
Rutgers rode their two point guards to a terrific 11-2 non-conference record, (please don’t ask about the team’s current standings in the Big Ten), and it appears that with Coach Pikiell’s signings that he plans to continue to focus on a guard-centric approach.
Now, where Mensah will fall into next year’s rotation is a different question entirely. The aforementioned Johnson and Sanders will both be back next season as Johnson is currently a junior and Sanders a sophomore.
Add in the fact that Rutgers’ other 2017 recruit Geo Baker is listed as a 3-star with a 79 scout grade according to the World Wide Leader, the backcourt already looks cluttered for next season. (Do note that ESPN does have Baker listed as a shooting guard rather than as a point man).
Barring a transfer or other unforeseen circumstance, the best bet for Mensah is that he will see limited minutes next season. His highlight video below does show off “Souf” as a more traditional point guard rather than a scorer, so there is a possibility of him finding minutes if Rutgers uses rotations with Johnson and Sanders as shooting guards, which both have displayed as something they are capable of this season.
The signing of Mensah isn’t a signing that is going to sell season ticket packages next season or build a ton of hype for the program, (JUCO signings rarely do). Mensah will provide college-level experience that can establish himself in the program before, presumably at least four new players join the roster in 2018.
You can check out Mensah’s highlights from last season below.