Rutgers Basketball Readies for Big Ten

Eddie Jordan

NEW YORK – Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan is now in year two of his job, and expectations are set to change with a summer transition into the Big Ten. Speaking with ScarletReport.com during the R B1G Tour in Manhattan, Jordan broke down the conference shift and representing the Big Apple.

Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan took over a program at rock bottom, and continues to point to patience when it comes to development. No matter who Jordan talks to, he stresses that Rutgers basketball is a work in progress.

The progress is there, but a lot of work remains to be done.

"That's part of the process," Jordan said. "The process isn't overnight. I was talking with President [Robert] Barchi the other day. He was saying people think the [school's medical merger] is over. He was saying ‘I've got three or four more years to get this thing right.' I said, ‘I'm glad you said that. That's going to be our program.'"

The idea of getting things right changes significantly when the Scarlet Knights join the Big Ten. Jordan, just like everyone else, saw schools like Connecticut and Virginia take over New York City in the NCAA tournament.

He wants to see Rutgers do the same thing as New York's Big Ten team.

"We've got to make some strides," Jordan said. "We've got to win them over – there's no doubt about it. We've got to win some games.

"I think that once they see our brand on TV against Indiana and Michigan State, it's a reality. Right now it's just you guys writing about it. Once they actually see that night-in and night-out, we are in a league and we are competing, then it catches on a little bit more."

The Big Ten is coming, and it started to hit home at the Louis Brown Athletic Center this week with the announcement of the ACC-Big Ten challenge set for this fall.

The Scarlet Knights play at Clemson, and have to do so on short rest after a tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

"It's finally feeling a part of it," Jordan said. "The announcement of the game, the [joining date] is coming. We're weaning our way off the old conference, which wasn't bad. We're finally getting to where we can really be excited."

Jordan has four recruits signed and a fifth set to send in his letter this week – Ryan Johnson.

The class of 2015 is off to a solid start with commitments from LeRoy Butts and Austin Burnette. The pitch gets even stronger when Rutgers joins the Big Ten.

"[The Big Ten] is exciting to them," Jordan said. "We just hope they're excited about Rutgers and the Big Ten. It's easy to get excited with the blue and gold of Michigan up and down and Penn State football. We've got to get them excited about starting a new program. Look, we're going to take our lumps. There's no doubt about it. We're young.

"We've got to get those type of players, and we've got to get used to the conference. Especially New York and New Jersey kids, they've got to say ‘I want to play at my state university in the Big Ten.' We'll see where that goes. That's our priority."

With the Big Ten as part of the motivation, Rutgers basketball is hard at work during offseason workouts. Guard Myles Mack and forward Kadeem Jack were the two biggest names to stay the course during an ugly 2013 offseason.

Their reward comes with a mutual senior season in the Big Ten.

"We're seeing leadership from Kadeem and Myles, which he haven't seen a lot last year," Jordan said. "We can only go with four guys at a time but they are into it. Assistant coaches do a great job. I've said before, I wanted our team to hear my voice. And now our assistants are getting involved a little bit more. I think the change of voice and the creativity from them means a lot. And it's good for them."

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