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.
A day before Rutgers earned a big 83-75 win over UMass in the semifinals of the Legends Classic, the Scarlet Knights got a big commitment.
Gilvydas Biruta, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound senior forward from Lithuania now playing for Dan Hurley at St. Benedict’s Prep, verbally committed to Rutgers Thursday.
Biruta chose Rutgers over Maryland, Davidson, Harvard and Penn. Arizona and Kentucky also reached out to Hurley in recent days.
“I did it yesterday [Thursday],” Biruta said of his commitment. “I like the coaching staff and it feels like family.”
Biruta is Rutgers’ second 2010 commit, following shooting guard Austin Carroll of Brewster Academy.
Biruta described himself as a forward “who can step out and shoot a 3-pointer.”
Rutgers assistant Jimmy Carr recruited Biruta, who knows current Rutgers sophomore forward Greg Echenique from St. Ben’s.
“I’m friends with Gregory but I didn’t know a lot about [Mike] Rosario,” Biruta said. “I met him a couple times.”
Biruta says he’s looking forward to staying in New Jersey for college.
“Yes,” he said. “I’m going to St. Benedict’s. I made a lot of friends in New Jersey including coach [Scott] Smith and coach Hurley and some Lithuanian families.”
Biruta played for the Lithuanian last summer in the European U18 Championships in France, which caused his stock to rise. He averaged 5 points in 14 minutes in 9 games.
“We won the most games in a row in the tournament but lost in the semis to France,” he said. “We played in France so it was tough.”
Rutgers coach Fred Hill told Biruta he can contribute as a freshman.
“He said that I’ll have a chance to play a lot of minutes,” he said.
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.