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BIG EAST: 2006-07

College Preview Big East Message Board

By Eric Silver

September 1st, 2006

 

Big East Basketball Preview: Rutgers

Obviously, new head coach Fred Hill and all Rutgers fans wish Quincy Douby had returned to the Knights.  It's hard to lose a first-round draft pick, especially an underclassman.  Douby was the only Knight to average in double figures last year.  It's not going to be easy to replace his 25-plus ppg.

However, there's still quite a bit of talent for Hill to work with.  Marquis Webb is a senior who does a bit of everything.  He averaged 9.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, and 2.7 apg last season.  He shot 40% from the field and 36% from behind the arc.  Webb, who is 6'5", has gained a well-deserved reputation as an outstanding defender. While he played the 3 last season, with Douby gone and no obvious replacement, there's a good chance he'll get at least as many minutes at the 2 this year as he will at the 3, maybe even more.

Two of last year's freshmen - J. R. Inman and Anthony Farmer - will definitely start.  Inman's injury kept him out of some conference games, which hurt the Knights' record. He played the 4 and averaged 8.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, and 1.75 blocks per game in 25.7 mpg.  He's a good long-range shooter as he hit 39% of his trey attempts for the season.  He's more of a natural 3 than a 4 despite being 6'9" and 220 pounds, so, when Webb plays the 2, Inman will likely see some time at the 3.  He is one of the more talented players in the league in the sophomore class.  Despite his relative youth, he should be the Knights’ #1 option on offense, a development that will allow him to average 12-15 ppg.

Farmer was handed the starting point guard position and did a commendable job.  He averaged 8.3 ppg and 3.9 apg.  His assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8/1.0) was impressive, especially for a freshman.  He's not a bad shooter - 38% on treys - but he's going to have pick up his scoring with Douby gone.  Farmer is also a respectable defender, though not in the same category as Webb.

If Webb moves to the 2, and Inman plays considerable minutes at the 3, Ollie Bailey could regain his starting position at the 4 next year. After being a starter most of his freshman year, he averaged only 16.4 mpg last season, contributing 4.4 ppg and 3.3 rpg.  He'll never be a consistent double-digit scorer, but he can be a blue-collar player who can grab five or six rebounds a game and play solid defense.

Byron Joynes started at center the past two years.  He’s not a great scorer (3.1 ppg in 19.8 mpg), but he’s proven to be a decent rebounder (5.5 rpg). Extrapolated to 25 mpg, he’d average just a shade under seven rebounds per game.  Joynes played with a dislocated shoulder most of last season.  If it’s completely healed, both his scoring and his rebounding stats should improve substantially.

Adrian Hill has had injury problems the past two years, so it's hard to gauge how much he might contribute.  He can add depth at both the 4 and the 5, but given his medical history, it’s hard to count on that happening.  Anything he provides will be a bonus.

The final returnee is Jaron Griffin - a 6'7" swing man. He's pretty athletic, and he gives the Knights some size at the 2 or 3, but his shooting stats - 32% overall and 22% on treys - indicate shooting is not his strength.  Still, he did get 13.3 mpg last year, and with Douby gone, there are some additional minutes available.

There's only one freshman on the roster - 6'11" center Hamady N'Diaye, who is ranked #97 on RSCI. He's raw offensively, but he's athletic and could help on the defensive end.  If he can board and stay out of foul trouble, he should see 15-20 minutes backing up at the 5.

The other significant newcomer is Richmond transfer Courtney Nelson.  He will back up Farmer at point guard and may also allow Farmer to move to the 2 guard on occasion where he can concentrate more on scoring than on running the offense.  At the very least Nelson gives Hill a reliable back-up and some flexibility in the backcourt.

Rutgers may have problems scoring.  Neither Joynes nor Bailey is much of a threat, and N'Diaye probably won't be either.  Webb will have to become more offensive-minded, as will Farmer, and Inman will have to become a go-to guy.  Besides a lack of low-post scoring, the Knights are suspect from behind the arc, despite some decent individual stats.  Last year defenses concentrated so intently on containing Douby that other players often got open looks.  Without Douby on the court to draw the defense’s focus, the question will be whether Farmer, Webb, and Inman can get their own shots from behind the arc and knock them down.

Hill may well resurrect the Knights, but it’s unlikely Rutgers will end up in the upper half of the league. The Knights will have to battle just to make the BE Tourney, but they have a good chance of reaching that goal.  They could climb as high as 10th or drop as low as 12th.  An 11th place finish seems just about right.

- Predicted Finish: 11 of 16

? Connecticut

? Georgetown

? Louisville

? Marquette ? Pittsburgh ? St John's ? Syracuse ? Villanova

#9 DePaul

#10 Providence #11 Rutgers #12 Notre Dame #13 Cincinnati #14 Seton Hall #15 WVU #16 S. Florida

 

 

 

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