By Jon Rothstein
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Mike Rice finally got the wing he’s so badly been craving.
The Rutgers coach received a commitment on Tuesday from Vincent Garrett, a 6-foot-5 junior college prospect out of Houston. The Lee College product will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
The addition of Garrett immediately fills a major void for Rice and the Scarlet Knights. While Rutgers has been able to add a strong core of guards and big men in Rice’s first two seasons in Piscataway, they’ve lacked a perimeter scorer that can create his own shot at the end of the shot clock —- something that should change with the addition of Garrett.
A freak athlete with a terrific mid range game, Garrett should take immense pressure off Eli Carter offensively and give Rice exceptionally more ways to structure his lineup.
Don’t be surprised to see Rice use Dane Miller in spurts as an undersized four man with Garrett lining up at small forward. Junior-to-be Mike Poole is another wing that should challenge for significant playing time.
Several coaches who watched Garrett raved about his competitiveness and said he was a perfect fit for Rice because of how hard he competed on each and every play.
Despite a somewhat disappointing 14-18 record in his second year and the loss of starting forward Gilvydas Biruta who transferred to Rhode Island, Rice has the pieces in place for Rutgers to make a leap in the Big East standings next season.
Carter, Myles Mack, and Jerome Seagears provide a back court triumvirate that can match up with any perimeter in the conference and all three should take big steps forward in their sophomore seasons.
The big key will be whether or not Kansas State transfer Wally Judge is capable of holding down the middle for Rutgers, who also need a big sophomore season from power forward Kadeem Jack. A freak athlete that was plagued by a foot injury last year, Jack never really got into a rhythm after showing tremendous promise in the preseason. If Jack can provide the intangibles he’s capable of and Judge becomes a force in the paint, there’s no reason why folks in Piscataway shouldn’t see some type of postseason appearance at the end of next season.
What do you expect from the Scarlet Knights next season? Sound off below!