Rutgers Scarlet Knights Represent at 2023-24 Big Ten Media Day in Minneapolis
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Rutgers Scarlet Knights Represent at 2023-24 Big Ten Media Day in Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS, MN. – The 2023-24 Rutgers Scarlet Knights made a significant presence at the Big Ten Media Days held at the Target Center, alongside all the men’s basketball teams in the conference, on Tuesday morning.

Head coach Steve Pikiell, center Clifford Omoruyi, forward Aundre Hyatt, and forward Mawot Mag represented the Scarlet Knights this season.

Pikiell addressed the media at 9:40 a.m. during his press conference at the podium on the Big Ten Network.

“I’m thrilled to be here for Year Eight at Rutgers,” Pikiell said. “I believe we have a chance to be a strong basketball team. I’m proud to be at Rutgers University, where many great things are happening, including my two kids graduating from Rutgers. It’s truly a special time.” Pikiell is coming off a season where the Scarlet Knights achieved their third-straight postseason appearance for the first time in school history. The head coach announced that all season tickets at Jersey Mike’s Arena are now sold out, with select season tickets available.

For the first time, Pikiell revealed that all three attendees would serve as season captains for this year’s squad.

“We’ve sold out all of our games for the year,” Pikiell added. “I have three players here with me on this trip. Clifford Omoruyi is back for his senior year, and he came back to graduate as well, which is refreshing. I believe he is one of the best big guys in the country. Mawot Mag is one of the best defenders in the country, and he’ll be back from his injury, which he suffered in the middle of last season. Aundre Hyatt is here, and those are our captains. Aundre averaged almost nine points a game last year, and he is poised for a breakthrough senior year.”

Pikiell was asked about the success that Rutgers is experiencing on the recruiting trails and why his program continues to generate more and more buzz each offseason.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights Represent at 2023-24 Big Ten Media Day in Minneapolis

“I’m lucky my staff didn’t enter the portal,” Pikiell joked. “That’s the most important thing. I have a fantastic staff, and Brandin Knight is a special coach. He has been with me for eight years and has done a great job. T.J. Thompson is probably one of the great young coaches in college basketball right now. It’s nice to add Marlon Williamson to our staff this offseason too. I am truly fortunate. Our university is booming, and the campus is beautiful.

“It’s an incredible place,” Pikiell added. “I’m just blessed. I’m here at the right time. We have a great practice facility. We graduate everyone in our program, and our players continue to improve. We’re just lucky. We’ve been on the trail and working hard.”

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Pikiell is also bringing back another upperclassman in Oskar Palmquist, who is entering his fourth season with the Scarlet Knights. Additionally, all three freshmen from last season (guard Derek Simpson, forward Antwone Woolfolk, and forward Antonio Chol) have returned to the squad, and Pikiell acknowledged the significant growth each player has made heading into their sophomore seasons.

“I believe player development has been crucial for us,” Pikiell said. “We currently have three guys in our sophomore class. Derek Simpson, Woolfolk, a big guy from Cleveland, and Antonio Chol, a player from Buffalo standing at six-foot-ten. If you saw them last year at this time and now when you come to our practice to see them, they are completely new players, and we take pride in that.”

The 2023 Foreign Tour that the Scarlet Knights embarked on was a unique experience, taking them to Senegal and Portugal in August.

“The international tour was great for many reasons,” Pikiell said. “The bonding and the time spent with each other were awesome, but experiencing different things off the court is just tremendous. If you ever get a chance to go to those countries, you really realize how fortunate we are here, and I think our players realized that too.”

Pikiell discussed how the trip helped both freshmen Gavin Griffiths and Jamichael Davis get acclimated to his program. He also touched on the players added to the program through the transfer portal, including guards Austin Williams, Jeremiah Williams, Noah Fernandes, and center Emmanuel Ogbole.

“Noah Fernandes was the leading scorer for UMass last year and is a really talented player. He will handle the ball for us a great deal. Derek Simpson is electric. He is fast. Freshman Jamichael Davis out of Georgia is as fast of a player as we’ve ever had in the program and is doing a really good job. Then we have Gavin Griffiths, who comes in as the highest-ranked player I’ve ever recruited at Rutgers. He is six-foot-nine, can shoot well, and is athletic. Austin Williams is another veteran transfer who is quick and will help us handle the ball. We have a lot of ball handlers.”

Pikiell continued to emphasize the depth of this year’s roster.

“I like the fact that we can go 11 or 12 players deep this year,” Pikiell said. “We really didn’t have that kind of depth in the last couple of years, so when we got an injury, it hurt us. The offseason is so crucial. We have great chemistry. I take my time in the portal to bring in great kids that fit our culture. We’ve got some of those, and we’re excited about what they can bring.”

Hyatt led the Scarlet Knights in scoring on the international tour and enters his fifth year in college basketball and third with RU.

“He was a top 50 player out of high school,” Pikiell said. “He went to LSU, and he transferred to us. This is year three for him, and I believe that when players graduate or leave, opportunities change, and he has taken huge advantage of that. He is doing a lot of things for us. He is in great shape, by far in great shape. He is also pursuing his master’s degree. He is an excellent kid, taking on leadership roles, and I’m confident he will have a fantastic season. He’s a tough matchup, built at six-foot-six, and strong, capable of playing multiple positions. He is going to have a great season for us.”

All three players took the podium later in the afternoon and shared their thoughts on the season ahead. Rutgers was picked to finish in tenth place in the preseason Big Ten Conference poll, and like Pikiell, all three players embrace the underdog mentality.

“We always like being the underdogs,” Omoruyi said. “We have some new guys who are underdogs as well. It brings a challenge. We know they will be wrong when the season ends.

“It’s still early; it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Mag said. “I feel like it’s only a prediction, and nobody knows what will happen during the season. Only time will tell. We don’t get phased by things like that. We stay true to ourselves, take it day by day, and get better. That’s the only thing we can control.

“I agree with Mawot,” Hyatt added. “It’s a chip on our shoulder, and it will motivate us throughout the season. It’s just a prediction, and it doesn’t really mean anything. We have a great group of guys who will fight and compete.”

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The trio has high expectations of returning to the tournament this season for the third time in four years.

“I feel like the pieces we lost from last year, we got them back through the portal and with the freshmen,” Hyatt said. “The freshmen are going to play a significant role, especially J-Mike and Gavin, as well as the transfers like Noah. I feel like we’ve filled all the missing pieces, and this team will be better than last year.”

“It will be meaningful to get back there this season, especially with this great group of guys,” Omoruyi said. “It means a lot to me, especially being my last year. I want to make sure I win with these guys.”

Mag is returning from a torn ACL that he suffered at the end of last season against Michigan State at MSG. Mag expressed his excitement to get back on the court with his teammates when he is ready. The three captains believe that this team is capable of making a deep run in March.

“We have all the key pieces we need,” Mag said. “With the newcomers and all the people we had last year, we have everything we need. We are all here, we’ve put in the work, and we are playing to win. We will take it day by day, build team chemistry, and go from there.”

The above is about The《Rutgers Scarlet Knights Represent at 2023-24 Big Ten Media Day in Minneapolis》, and finally, I would like to recommend you a pair of shoes air jordan 1 low sp.

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