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Beginning Monday, June 21st, 2004 CHN began unveiling 144 Team previews in 144 Days. CHN ranked the nations top 144 teams, and is unveiling one per day leading up until the opening day of the 2004-05 Season.

 

Bookmark the 144 Teams in 144 Days home page, and check back each day to see which team is previewed next.


 

#72 Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Big East

 2003-04: 20-13, 7-9, 8th

2003-04 postseason: NIT runners-up

 

By Joel Welser

 

Going into the post season, the Scarlet Knights weren’t looking too good.  They lost three in a row, including two games to Virginia Tech.  Those three games were all very close and demoralizing, but in that week off before the NIT, Gary Waters got his squad ready to play.  Rutgers came out and beat Temple, West Virginia, Villanova and Iowa State before falling to Michigan in the NIT Finals.  The loss of much of the frontcourt will force some guys who didn’t play much last year to step up.  Adrian Hill is a solid post player, but little used sophomore Bryon Joynes is the only other returning post player.

 

Who’s Out: It isn’t necessarily the amount of forwards leaving, but the quality of those that are, that makes the departure of this class so damaging.  Herve Lamizana, a 6-10 forward, scored 13.4 points and led the squad with 7.6 rebounds per game.  Fellow starter Sean Axani averaged 5.6 points and 6.7 boards.  Little used Justin Piasecki is another big body that won’t be returning to New Brunswick. Calvin Wooten, a 6-1 guard, is transferring after his sophomore season.  Wooten only played in 13 games, starting one, but could have made a much bigger impact this year.

 

Who’s In: Luckily for Rutgers’ fans there are some big bodies coming in.  Jason Bees, a 7-0 center, is eligible for the 2004-2005 season after transferring from Radford.  Dan Waterstradt, an incoming freshman, is 6-10 and 210 pounds.  He has a nice touch for a big guy, but it remains to be seen if he can fight underneath with the Big East competition.  Ollie Bailey will add more toughness under the basket.  The 6-7, 225 pound Chicago native is a tough and passionate player.  Rounding out the class is point guard Manny Quezada.  Quezada won’t see much playing time this year with the deep guard position at Rutgers, but will make an impact not too far down the road.

 

Who to Watch: One of those great guards is Ricky Shields.  The 6-4 guard led the squad in scoring last year with 15.5 points.  For his senior season, Shields will be the team leader once again for the Scarlet Knights.  With Adrian Hill under the basket, defensives won’t be able to concentrate on just defending Shields. He is a good shooter and can drain three-pointers with the best of them.  Of the 33 games played, Shields didn’t make a shot from behind the arc in just two contests.  His skills don’t stop on the offensive end.  Shields is a solid perimeter defender and averaged nearly a steal per outing last season.

 

Projected Conference Rank: It won’t be as easy to rack up seven wins in the Big East this year.  Just about every team is better and the absence of Virginia Tech and Miami doesn’t help.  The frontcourt should come around by the end of the year, but there will be some problems in the adjustment period. Adrian Hill, and the other big guys that step in, have to stay out of foul trouble.  Ninth place in the Big East won’t be very bad this year.  The Scarlet Knights could just be a couple upsets away from a bubble team.   

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT

 

« Team #73 , Team #71   »

 


Email Joel Welser: jwelser_chn@ameritech.net

Chat About CHN's Top #144 Ranking: http://pub14.ezboard.com/fcollegehoopsnetfrm8

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