A Preview Of The 2007-08 Rutgers Team

By Richard Kent
Updated: November 20, 2007

CONNECTICUT — It is not a ringing endorsement of a program when they are picked to finish 15th in a 16-team League. It is not a ringing endorsement of the program when it has been 15 years since they have been to the NCAA’s.

It is not a ringing endorsement of a program when they went 10-19 last season with only three Big East Conference wins. But Rutgers coach Fred Hill is not only trying to change all of the above but to create a new culture at Rutgers.

The same culture at Rutgers that was created by Greg Schiano with respect to the football program. Hill is in his second season at the helm of a program that he has always coveted to coach.

His father is the head baseball coach at Rutgers and Hill has been around Rutgers sports forever. He apprenticed for the Rutgers job with assistants positions at Seton Hall, Marquette and Villanova among others.

He knows the Big East very well and is also a relentless recruiter.

Hill is already starting to put his imprint on the Rutgers program. Entering Tuesday’s home game against Dartmouth, the Scarlet Knights have opened the season 4-1 and many of the players on the court were either Hill recruits or players whom Hill helped to mold when he was an assistant at Rutgers under Gary Waters.

The Rutgers freshman class were all recruited by Hill and are led by guards Corey Chandler and Mike Coburn and forward 6-foot-5 Earl Pettis from Philadelphia.

Rutgers is not yet a middle of the pack team in the Big East. That will come with time. The Program was put in bad shape by Kevin Bannon and Gary Waters only partially repaired it. His recruiting left something to be desired. Hill understands the intricacies of recruiting in New Jersey as he has spent years doing it.

He has already made contacts with players throughout the State and has actually received a verbal from a ninth grader. When his bench skills catch up with his recruiting he will be the consummate coach in the consummate job for him in the consummate conference.

Hill is building this team around J.R. Inman. As Inman goes so will the team. Inman had a tough off season in which he trained under a no nonsense conditioner and put on a great deal of weight and upper body strength. It has shown already this year in exhibition games and in the team’s opener.