According to his Twitter account, Rutgers sophomore forward Jonathan Laurent has decided to leave the Scarlet Knights and transfer elsewhere. This is a huge loss for a Rutgers program trying to become relevant in the college basketball world.
In what was generally billed as a rebuilding year last season, Laurent represented an important piece of the rotation for the Scarlet Knights. He only averaged 13.3 minutes a game, but he played in 31 of them, and playing more than 10 minutes in six of the team’s last eight games. He averaged 3.0 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
As a recruit, Laurent arrived on campus without much fanfare. He was rated as a three-star prospect by 247Sports and No. 245 nationally. However, fans had hoped that he would develop into a nice prospect on the wing for the program down the road.
Early on, it looked like Laurent would live up to those hopes. He averaged 24.3 minutes as a freshman and was particularly impressive on the defensive boards. Admittedly, his numbers came in the midst of a terrible season (Rutgers finished 7-25 overall), but it was one of the few encouraging signs for the program.
Unfortunately, a litany of issues held him back from replicating his freshman numbers as a sophomore and he will now be heading elsewhere. Obviously, a disappointing finish for what Scarlet Knight fans had hoped to see from the wing.
Rutgers now has two open scholarships on its board without too many great options. And that doesn’t even include Corey Sanders’ scholarship, who declared for the NBA Draft without an agent a few weeks ago. As such, this will be a tricky time for Steve Pikiell and his staff. Last season was a significant improvement, but a few more bad breaks could send things back in the wrong direction.
Fans will now have to hope for some late 2017 prospects or some transfers in the coming weeks to replace a key offseason departure.