Rutgers basketball’s unlikely revival from the dead continues with recruiting coup

In almost every sport, Rutgers had been a complete disaster since joining the Big Ten in 2014.

It’s men’s basketball team was just one of many failures, not posting a winning season in any of its first five years in the league. The Scarlet Knights went 7-25 in the the 2015-16 campaign — their worst effort since the 1950s.

But the squad turned around its fortunes in dramatic fashion this season, going 20-11 in a deep conference and likely earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament before the event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Coach Steve Pikiell, who has been hailed as the driving force behind the uptick, is now building a foundation for continued success.

On Sunday, Rutgers secured 2020 center recruit Cliff Omoruyi from nearby Roselle, N.J., its highest-rated recruit in 12 years, according to 247Sports. Omoruyi joins a class that also features a trio of three-star forwards.

The Scarlet Knights will return top guards Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr. next year, theoretically giving them a nice inside-outside balance and mix of experienced leadership and youthful exuberance.

While Rutgers was among the most disappointed teams not to experience March Madness given its almost 20-year drought, it can take solace in the strong possibility of making it to the NCAA Tournament in 2021.

The Scarlet Knights were already trending in the right direction before Sunday. With Omoruyi in tow, they’ve cemented themselves as a program capable of a lasting rise.

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