‘Hopefully our guys are ready’: Expectations are high as Rutgers men's basketball preps for season opener
College basketball was one of
the first major sports to shut down back in March, but now, it’s set to return next
week, and this includes Rutgers University.
For the first time in more
than 40 years, Rutgers men's basketball has earned a preseason ranking, and
expectations are high for the 2020 squad, but the Scarlet Knights know they
have to play defense against more than just their opponents this year.
“We're going to throw it up
on the 25th and hopefully our guys are ready, like I tell them there's
a lot of things we can't control, nobody is going to be in the gym this year,”
says head coach Steve Pikiell. “We have to bring our own energy, whoever we
play we've got to be ready to play. It's really going to be more about us
staying healthy and ready to play than the opponent.”
Fifth year coach Pikiell says
the team has been going through daily antigen testing for the last month. With
COVID-19 cases on the rise and programs going into quarantine across the
country, Pikiell says scheduling will be a recurring issue throughout the
“I think we'll be scheduling
well into the year this year, this is going to be a different kind of season,”
says Pikiell. “I think we're going to be calling schools in January saying you
lost a game, we lost a game, you have a free day do you want to play, so I see
that happening too so.
Despite the many challenges
COVID-19 presents, Pikiell says he's confident in how his veteran players have
“I'm really excited about
our depth because I think we've tried to build a program that has had depth, I
play my depth, we're only going to be as good as our bench too, so I feel like
this year more than ever, your depth is really going to get tested,”
Rutgers University opens
with Sacred Heart next Wednesday.