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Rutgers Report: Putting An End To Rutgers’ NBA Drought

Two players, one former and one current, could halt Rutgers’ NBA drought.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at St. John Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 NBA Draft was a success for the Big Ten conference; there were a shocking number of first-round selections—three—and four selections overall. Then, when the free agency opened up, it only got better as a plethora of guys signed on with teams.

You can find all undrafted free agents here.

All in all, eight different Big Ten schools had a player represented, with Rutgers again on the outside looking in.

In fact, the Scarlet Knights have not had a player compete in the NBA since they joined the Big Ten and have only one player drafted in this decade—Hamady N’Diaye in 2010. Some guys, like four-year Rutgers player Kadeem Jack, have spent time across the NBA Summer League and NBA Preseason but it has never actually materialized to any time in the regular season.

N’Diaye played just 33 games in the NBA with the Washington Wizards and Sacremento Kings. He has not appeared in the NBA since the 2013-14 season.

Still, the program does have a few prospects—both former and current—that could change the current drought.

One former Rutgers player who does actually have a chance to reach the NBA is J.J. Moore, a guy who played his senior season ‘On The Banks’ after starting his career with Pittsburgh. Moore was taken in the NBA G-League Draft last season by the local Long Island Nets franchise and played very well. He was markedly efficient, shooting 49.7 percent from the field in 46 games, and even started half of them. By season's end, the 6-foot-6, hometown product had put together a campaign in which he averaged 14.5 points per game and will likely be a part of the Nets Summer League team in 2017.

Anthony Puccio of SBNation’s Nets Daily site recently ran a feature on Moore which goes in-depth on his NBA dreams. You can read the whole article here.

In addition to J.J. Moore, a current Rutgers’ player could find himself in an NBA jersey within the next few years—Corey Sanders.

Sanders tested the NBA Draft waters after both of his seasons at Rutgers—each to a lukewarm reception. However, this year, he actually had the chance to work out for an NBA team—the Sacremento Kings—which at the very least got his feet wet as to what teams are looking for.

For now, Corey Sanders is back at Rutgers, and that’s beneficial for him and the team.

While Sanders is going to be leaned on as the primary scoring option at Rutgers, he will need to prove to NBA scouts that he can be more of a distributor. Plus, he will need to improve his outside shooting now that the NBA has become so three-happy. With the addition of Souf Mensah—a pass-first point guard recruited by Steve Pikiell—Sanders may play off the ball some which should let him concentrate on his shooting from deep.

Regardless of what happens this year, Corey Sanders is above all, a plus-athlete. He has an innate ability to get to the RAC (see what I did there?) and will definitely get more looks from NBA teams after his junior season.

Barring a sudden growth spurt, I still don’t think he will get drafted next year. But, like Melo Trimble and James Blackmon Jr., he will at the very least get to prove himself on the NBA Summer League stage.