Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
The Rutgers basketball program appears to have solved its point guard problem.
James Beatty, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound point guard from Miami Dade College, has finally committed to the Scarlet Knights and will have two years of eligibility remaining.
“He ended up choosing Rutgers over six or seven high-major offers,” said Miami Dade coach Matt Eisele, whose program sent seven players to Division I schools this year. “It’s been a really up-and-down exciting thing with James. It was almost to the point that it was the last man standing. He was unsure what he wanted to do and Rutgers did a great job staying on top of him and showing how much of a desire and need they had at that position.”
Rutgers hopes that Beatty can step in and play the point right away in the post-Anthony Farmer Era.
Without Beatty, Corey Chandler or Mike Coburn would likely have run the point.
“That definitely is attractive to me, that their point guard [Farmer] is graduating and I can go in, work hard and get a lot of time right away rather than going to another program and having to wait and play backup,” Beatty told Jerry Carino of Hoops Haven earlier this year.
Said Eisele: “He is clearly planning on coming in and being a two-year starter and helping them make the next step.”
Rutgers went just 2-14 in the Big East last season but could be poised for a jump with the addition of Beatty, Florida transfer Jonathan Mitchell, an incoming recruiting class that includes highly touted freshman forward Dane Miller and Austin Johnson and the development of guard Mike Rosario and big man Greg Echenique.
Rosario, a member of the All-Big East Rookie Team last year, will surely be pleased with the addition of Beatty as a ball distributor.
“We didn’t really have a true point guard on the trip [to Spain],’ Rosario said earlier this month. “I think it would be great for us to add somebody at that position as far as having a legitimate point guard who knows how to lead and understands what it takes to win.”
Beatty averaged 13.4 points, 7.9 assists and 2.7 steals last season.
“He’s just a really good basketball player,” Eisele said. “He’s really coachable. He can really shot the ball well. He does a great job of taking the bull by the horns and leading by example. He knows how to take other talented players and make them better.
“He knows how to hit big shots. He had seven games of five or more 3’s. He broke the school assist record with 16 in one game. He was the reason we were able to have such a successful season with keeping all the egos in check down here and sending so many kids to high-major Division I schools.
“He won back-to-back MVPs on my team.”
Eisele said it took Beatty a long time to commit because “I don’t think he knew what he wanted to do. He was looking at every possible option. Rutgers and Coach [Jimmy] Carr just did the best job of staying on top of him from start to finish.”
He added: “He will graduate with a 2.85 GPA. He’ll probably go [to Rutgers] in August. He’s finishing up a few things and then going back to North Carolina.”
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.