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Rutgers Report: Coach Pikiell Throws Out First Pitch, JUCO Transfer Visits

Coach Steve Pikiell continues to change the culture at Rutgers.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

With the Scarlet Knights’ football season just a few days away, the Rutgers’ basketball program is doing their best to stay relevant on the banks.

JUCO Big Man Makes Visit

On August 25th, junior college transfer Shaq Carter made a visit to Rutgers as he gets ready to make his decision for the Class of 2018 recruiting class. As it stands now, Carter has already received an offer from the Scarlet Knights, as well as other big-name programs like Xavier, Auburn, Iowa State, LSU, Washington State, and Memphis.

Purdue, a fellow Big Ten school, has also made an offer to the 6-foot-9 product out of Eastern Florida State College.

Since Rutgers will lose their best frontcourt player—Deshawn Freeman—after this coming season, getting help at the forward position is definitely a major priority. In the case of Shaq Carter, ‘help’ may be an understatement. Carter is a big-bodied guy who can do a lot of things beneficial to Steve Pikiell’s style of play. He is a solid defender at 6-foot-9 and can put the ball in the hoop at an efficient clip.

In his first season at Eastern Florida State College, Carter played just over 20 minutes per game and made the most of them. He averaged 9.2 points per game on 57 percent shooting, while also blocking 1.1 shots per game and grabbing more than six boards per contest.

While Freeman is the biggest reason for Carter’s recruitment, it should be noted that fellow big man Candido Sa will also be on his way out the door after this season.

Steve Pikiell Lets It Fly On The Pitcher’s Mound

Judging from his time at Rutgers so far, we all know that head coach Steve Pikiell can recruit and make an impact from the sidelines. But, one of his most beneficial traits is the way in which he promotes Rutgers brand off the court.

Steve Pikiell is an ambassador for Rutgers hoops, and on Saturday night, he was up to his old tricks. Dressed in a red, block ‘R’ polo shirt, Pikiell the mound at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater Township, NJ to throw out the first pitch for the latest Somerset Patriots home game.

The Patriots—a member of the Independent Atlantic League—hosted “RU Night” on August 25th and Pikiell was one of the main attractions.

Flanked by a few Scarlet Knight cheerleaders and Rutgers’ mascot, the second-year coach fired the ceremonial first pitch to a Patriots’ player, drawing loud cheers from the New Jersey crowd. Although the pitch turned out to be a bit high, the appearance was great PR for the program and it really seems like Pikiell enjoys this type of promotion.

Fans who attended the Rutgers-themed event received red Scarlet Knight tote bags and were blessed to see the home team pick up a 4-1 win over the Bridgeport Bluefish.