As the news of the offseason draws nearly to a stop, it’s always an interesting task to take a step back and see how some of the predictions of the past turned out. In our latest series, BTPowerhouse will look at the impact the 2013 recruiting classes had on each Big Ten program.
Today we look at the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the program’s recruiting class from five years ago.
The Scarlet Knights entered the 2013-’14 season in a pretty rough spot. The program was entering its last (and only) season in the AAC and was still in the process of recovering from the Mike Rice scandal. Without exaggerating, it very well could have been the bottom for Rutgers in the modern era.
The team was also losing some major contributors in Austin Johnson and Dane Miller. Although Kadeem Jack and Myles Mack were already on the roster, fans were hoping that new head coach Eddie Jordan’s first batch of recruits could get things back on track for Rutgers as it prepared to move to the Big Ten.
Let’s take a look at their class and how they did.
-Khalil Batie - Point Guard (Unranked)
Despite underwhelming rankings as a high school prospect, Batie ended up contributing significantly during his career with the Scarlet Knights. Batie never became a star player, but he ended up playing in three separate seasons for the Scarlet Knights, including 15 games during the 2014-’15 season.
Generally speaking, Batie’s career wasn’t all that exceptional. After all, he played in 35 games over four years with Rutgers. However, given that he had next to no hype when he joined the program as a walk-on, it’s hard to be too disappointed. He earned his playing time and overachieved for the Scarlet Knights.
-Craig Brown - Small Forward (Unranked)
Brown was another player in the program’s 2013 class that arrived with little to no hype. He spent his first two college seasons at Broward College. However, he made quite a mark in his first season with the Scarlet Knights, playing in 30 games with 14.7 minutes per game. Brown averaged 3.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
Unfortunately for Jordan and his staff, Brown opted to transfer to Kent State after the 2013-’14 season. He wasn’t exceptional for Kent State during his lone season there, but there’s no denying he could have helped a depleted Rutgers roster during the 2014-’15 season, if he had stayed with the program.
-D’Von Campbell - Point Guard (Unranked)
Like several other members of Jordan’s 2013 class, Campbell took an unusual path to Rutgers. He arrived on campus after playing at UTEP and Hutchinson Community College. At UTEP, he averaged 2.3 points per game.
Campbell only spent one season with the Scarlet Knights and averaged 17.4 minutes, 5.4 points, and 1.5 assists per game during that time. Most of the highlights of his season came in non-conference play, including a 17-point performance against Stillman. He ranked ninth on the team in total minutes during the 2013-’14 season. However, given he played limited minutes on an underwhelming team, it’s hard to feel that he outperformed expectations.
-Junior Etou - Power Forward (No. 136 on 247Sports)
Without a doubt, Etou arrived as the most hyped prospect in the program’s 2013 recruiting class. He was rated as a four-star and the No. 136 player in the nation by 247Sports. Along with Rutgers, he also had offers from Cincinnati, Clemson, Memphis, and Miami (FL) among others.
Etou was a major contributor for Rutgers during the 2013-’14 and 2014-’15 seasons. He played in 58 games and averaged 26.6 minutes per game. During his sophomore season, he averaged 7.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
However, he opted to transfer to Tulsa in 2015, ending his Rutgers career with just two seasons. As such, it’s hard to feel that he lived up to his recruiting hype. Etou was supposed to be Jordan’s first major piece in rebuilding the program. He ended up having two solid seasons and going elsewhere.
Given how much Rutgers struggled during Jordan’s tenure, taking a look back at the program’s recruiting efforts will be painful for most Scarlet Knight fans. However, the 2013 recruiting class does give us an interesting perspective on what went wrong.
There’s no denying that the 2013 class didn’t live up to the hype. This was partially due to lack of development, but the transfers likely made an even bigger impact. Even when the players were performing, they would left Rutgers early anyway. It was a trend that really hurt Jordan’s potential as a head coach.
The 2013 recruiting class didn’t have an immense amount of hype when it arrived on campus for the Scarlet Knights, but the struggles of the class certainly was a major reason that Jordan’s tenure wasn’t successful for the Scarlet Knights.