2024-25 Big Ten offseason at a glance: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • 06/03/2024 6:27 am in

Welcome to “Big Ten offseason at a glance,” a team-by-team look at the conference at the start of the summer. We’ll examine roster movement for each Big Ten roster and give an early outlook for each Big Ten program for the 2024-25 season.

Previously: Penn State, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Oregon, Washington, Maryland, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Ohio State

Today: Rutgers (15-17 overall in 2023-24, 7-13 in Big Ten play)

The Scarlet Knights missed the NCAA tournament for the second straight season in 2023-24 and finished No. 100 in the final KenPom rankings. Despite having the fifth-best defense in the country, the Rutgers offense ranked 298th in the country, according to Pomeroy’s adjusted offensive efficiency numbers.

Rutgers roster movement

Players returning with eligibility remaining: Jeremiah Williams, Emmanuel Ogbole, Jamichael Davis, Oskar Palmquist

Players departing due to exhausted eligibility: Aundre Hyatt, Noah Fernandes, Austin Williams

Players who departed via the transfer portal: Derek Simpson (to St. Joseph’s), Antonio Chol (to Howard), Mawot Mag (to BYU), Clifford Omoruyi (to Alabama), Gavin Griffiths (to Nebraska), Antwone Woolfolk (to Miami OH)

Players arriving via the transfer portal: Zach Martini (from Princeton), Tyson Acuff (from Eastern Michigan), Jordan Derkack (from Merrimack), PJ Hayes (San Diego)

Players arriving via high school: Dylan Harper (247Composite top five), Ace Bailey (247Composite top five), Lathan Sommerville, Dylan Grant, Bryce Dortch

Steve Pikiell landed two top-five high school players in the country in Harper and Bailey, along with four incoming transfers expected to be in the rotation next season. The Scarlet Knights currently have one scholarship open.

What to like about Rutgers

The guard and wing play should be electrifying. Harper and Bailey are likely lottery picks in the 2025 NBA draft making a one-year pit stop in Piscataway to fine tune their skills.

After putting a dismal offense on the floor last season, Rutgers should be much better offensively. But it’s not just Harper and Bailey. Williams scored double figures in eight of the 12 games he played down the stretch. Acuff averaged 21.7 points at Eastern Michigan. Derkack averaged 17 points at Merrimack. And Martini is a capable floor spacer from the four position. He shot 38.5 percent on 3s last season at Princeton.

What to question with Rutgers

The elite defense is likely taking a step back. As talented as Harper and Bailey are, they’ll need time to get up to speed defensively.

And losing Omoruyi, an elite rim protector, leaves a major question mark in the paint. Going from Omoruyi, one of the nation’s best post defenders, to Ogbole and Sommerville is a big step down. Ogbole played in only 10 games last season and averaged just 2.1 points and two rebounds in 8.1 minutes. Sommerville, a freshman, is the No. 126 player in the 2024 class and will likely need some time to develop. Rutgers does have one scholarship open and it would be well served to find some proven production in the post to fill that spot.

Rutgers’ outlook for the 2024-25 season

Here’s the Rutgers Big Ten schedule for next season:

Home: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, UCLA, USC, Wisconsin
Away: Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oregon, Washington
Home/Away: Michigan, Penn State, Purdue

After missing the NCAA tournament for two straight seasons, there’s pressure for Pikiell to turn things around next winter. Bailey and Harper will only be around for one season and the Scarlet Knights have done a solid job surrounding them with a capable supporting cast in the backcourt and on the wings. The post-depth chart, however, is concerning.

Bart Torvik has Rutgers in the top 30 of his projections for the 2024-25 season and the most recent Joe Lunardi bracketology has the Scarlet Knights as a projected No. 9 seed.

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