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Saying Goodbye To Rutgers Graduating Class

The Scarlet Knights will lose three players to graduation prior to the 2017-18 season

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

This season, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights made remarkable strides towards becoming a legitimate Big Ten basketball team. The program improved their win total by eight games, collecting 15 total victories in 2016-17, compared to only seven in 2015-16.

In addition, out of all Division-1 basketball programs, Rutgers made the most dramatic rise in the KenPom ratings. The Scarlet Knights finished this year 144 spots higher than last year, jumping up from No. 279, all the way to No. 135.

First-year head coach Steve Pikiell is the main reason why the team had such marked improvement. He instituted a complete culture change at Rutgers, demanding that his team give their all on defense and on the glass. In addition, Pikiell has ramped up Rutgers recruiting effort and is a regular face at high school gyms across the Northeast.

One of the recruits he brought in after getting the job was graduate-transfer C.J Gettys. Along with seldom-used Khalil Batie, the two were the only seniors on Rutgers’ roster this year.

Gettys and Batie were both honored on ‘Senior Night’, which turned out to be one of Rutgers best performances. But once the season ended, the Scarlet Knights received news that another player would be graduating as well, Nigel Johnson.

Johnson was listed as a junior this season.

Below we will look at all three players who are leaving Rutgers basketball program.

Khalil Batie:

A walk-on from Trenton Catholic, Batie is a true underdog story. He rose from not dressing in most games as a freshman, to making 35 appearances in his final three seasons.

As a junior, Batie played legitimate minutes in back-to-back Big Ten games. On February 20th and February 23rd, he combined for 34 minutes of floor time, scoring eight total points and blocking four shots.

On a much improved team this year, he saw only 14 minutes of playing time, but did manage to sink a three pointer in Rutgers final game. Overall, Batie shot 36.8 percent from three-point land in his career, making 7 of 19 treys.

C.J Gettys:

Gettys came to Rutgers as the centerpiece of Steve Pikiell’s first recruiting class. Pikiell didn’t have much time to get a great class together, but he certainly hit a home run with Gettys.

Everytime Rutgers played a game this year, C.J Gettys was announced in the starting lineup, making him the only player on the team to do so. In addition, he averaged career highs in minutes (22), points (7.7), field-goal percentage (54.4), and rebounds (5.2).

The team will definitely miss him next season, especially the leadership qualities he brought to the table. On the 2016-17 squad, Gettys was the only player with NCAA Tournament experience (2015-16 UNCW).

With his 7-foot size, Gettys should have no problem landing a professional contract overseas. Most recently, it was announced that he will participate with Team UKnighted, a group of Rutgers basketball alumni, in The Basketball Tournament.

Nigel Johnson:

One of the biggest surprises this year for Rutgers was Nigel Johnson. He arrived without much fanfare from Kansas State, but quickly turned heads with his smooth jump shot and pleasant attitude.

Johnson will be most remembered for his performance in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament. He led all scorers with 21 points and put the game away down the stretch with a perfect touch from the charity stripe. Overall, he ranked second on the team in scoring, notching 11.3 points per night.

According to his Twitter account, Johnson will graduate from Rutgers this year and use his final year of eligibility at another program.

According to his Twitter account, Johnson will graduate from Rutgers this year and use his final year of eligibility at another program.