NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers junior Kadeem Jack spent his second straight summer in a New York summer league. With the majority of the roster playing down the Jersey Shore, Jack could not wait for the formal start of practices this week.
Jack projects to start for coach Eddie Jordan this season, and the chance to get so much preseason time with new faces in the Rutgers program is crucial, he said.
“I’m happy that we’re all practicing here united,” Jack said after the first formal preseason practice at the College Avenue Gym. “There were too many times over the summer where we couldn’t all get together. I’m happy that the whole team is finally together and we can start learning things and retaining the information that coach Eddie Jordan is providing us.”
Rutgers faced eligibility questions with three additions – four if Jerome Seagears’ return is counted – and had to balance summer schedules during workouts. The majority of questions now have answers going into October.
The answers, and harmony promoted by Jordan, have Jack eager to get his junior year started.
“Everybody got in the gym a lot during the summer, but it wasn’t all of us together,” Jack said. “Everyone worked hard, but now it’s us actually getting ready for the season. The season is now started and we’re psyched to get to the first game.”
Jack is one of eight players turned over from the 2012-13 roster and an instant contender to emerge as an impact player. Jack started four games as a sophomore, and projects to start a lot more this season.
“Personally, I feel like I improved tremendously,” said Jack, who checks in at 6-foot-9. “I stayed in the gym all summer. I did a lot of extra stuff. I think my game will speak for itself this year.”
Jack said the chance to work with Jordan is going to take him to the next level.
“I’m learning to get my own shot, make moves on the bounce,” Jack said. “He’s teaching me to focus on the goals at hands. A lot of the stuff that he does, you have to think first. Once you think about it a couple of times, it becomes second nature. A lot of guys don’t think that way, so he’s giving us an upper hand in a lot of ways.”