You can almost hear the opposing groans of the Ten Great Guardians from here.
Conference Defensive Player of the Year Caleb McConnell will play his fifth season with Rutgers basketball as a postgraduate student.
6 feet – 7 adults He announced his return on Wednesdayy after spending the past two months exploring the NBA draft process.
“I’m excited to be back on one last tour with the Crimson Knights in 2022-23,” McConnell said in a statement. “I learned a lot through the training process for the 2022 NBA Draft. I want to give a shout-out to my coaches, teammates and family to help me make that decision about my future. We have built so much over the past four seasons in RU, and I can’t wait to see what we achieve next year. I can’t wait to see RU Nation at Jersey Mike’s Arena!”
McConnell’s return was expected. Although an influential player in college, he never demonstrated the shooting or ball handling abilities that the NBA and JG scouts value above all else. He has not received invitations to any of the major scouting fairs – the Portsmouth Invitational, G League Combine, or NBA Combine. It was announced just hours before the draft withdrawal deadline because he’s gone through several trainings with NBA teams this week, including on Wednesday.
Rutgers coach Steve Bikel will gladly embrace his return.
McConnell averaged 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game this past season as the Crimson Knights finished 18-14 after their second consecutive NCAA Championship appearance for the first time since the mid-1970s. With the ability to defend four positions, the point guards through the strength of the attackers, have been named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. He led the league in thefts with a score of 70.
Throughout his career on the banks, McConnell has performed better in the biggest games. He scored 13 points and 10 rebounds in Rutgers’ 2021 NCAA Championship win over Clemson and 23 points (from 10 of 12) with 11 plates in a March Big Dance loss to Notre Dame.
But the numbers don’t do McConnell justice. Lightly recruited from Ohio State, he’s been a model teammate and skilled player from day one. He also overcame a slew of injuries, including back pain, until the middle of his junior season.
“We are excited to welcome Caleb McConnell back for another season,” Bekele said in a statement. “Caleb was the ultimate ambassador for our program on and off the field. He is an incredible person and has been one of the best players across the board on both sides of the field. The 2022 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year is back and one of the top players in the conference. I am excited to see what he brings to the Crimson Knights in 2022-23.” .
With McConnell in the fold, Rutgers should be able to avoid a rebuilding season in 2022-23 with three starters back. Point guard Paul Mulcahy and center Cliff Aomori are the other two, giving the Crimson Knights a capable post-season core. All-Big Ten striker Ron Harper, Jr. decided to ditch his fifth year and stay in the draft after playing in the NBA’s scouting group, leaving huge boots to fill in the shoes of Geo Becker, who’s out of his eligibility and starts his own business geared toward connecting Rutgers fans and athletes.
With freshman winger Jaden Jones joining a professional career after three semesters of riding the pines, this leaves Beckiel with two scholarships open. Rutgers will probably add another huge man, perhaps as a red man. While no one will fill Harper’s place, there is a clear need for help with the force forward.
Here’s a look at the scholarship depth chart now:
Guards (5): Caleb McConnell, Paul Mulcahy, Cam Spencer, Galen Miller, Derek Simpson.
Wings (3): Aundre Hyatt, Mawot Mag, Oskar Palmquist.
Bigs (3): Cliff Omuroy, Dean Reaper, Anton Woolfolk.
Jerry Carino has covered the New Jersey sports scene since 1996 and has beaten college basketball since 2003. He is one of the top 25 voters for the Associated Press. Contact him at email@example.com.