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.
Rutgers Coach Steve Pikiell Excited for Return of Corey Sanders
Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell expects point guard Corey Sanders to return for his sophomore season and is excited about what’s ahead.
The 6-foot-2 Sanders opted to test the NBA Draft waters but was not invited to the NBA Draft Combine slated for May 11-15 in Chicago. Sanders officially has until May 25 to send in his paperwork and decide to return to campus for the 2016-17 season.
“He didn’t pull his name out yet because he doesn’t have to until” late May, Pikiell told SNY.tv on Monday. “I’m just excited. He’s been working hard. We have Mike Williams back and we have Nigel Johnson and Corey. They’ve been working hard and they’re finishing up school right now.
“I’m excited with the staff and what we’ve been able to accomplish in a short period of time.”
Sanders averaged 15.9 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds for a Rutgers team that finished 7-25 under former coach Eddie Jordan.
Seton Hall sophomore guard Isaiah Whitehead, Syracuse freshman guard Malachi Richardson and Iona senior guard A.J. English all received combine invites, but it appeared unlikely that Sanders would earn one.
Pikiell pointed out that even more accomplished guards like Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell and Wichita State’s Fred VanVleet weren’t invited. (Both are listed as alternates, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.)
“Some tremendous guards that have tremendous resumes didn’t get invited,” he said.
As for Sanders, Pikiell said, “He has to work hard and get better. I think he had a good freshman year.”
Meantime, Pikiell looks to continue to build the roster going forward. The team had seven scholarship players to end the season and has since added Roselle Catholic senior guard Matt Bullock and San Jacinto College forward Cândido Sá,who is close with returning big man Shaq Doorson. Pikiell cannot comment on Sá until he signs after his graduation.
Aside from Doorson, Rutgers also returns frontcourt players DeShawn Freeman and Ibrahima Diallo.
Rutgers continues to look to build its roster going forward with the addition of transfers and graduate transfers.
The Daily Orange first reported that Syracuse graduate transfer Chinonso Obokoh will visit Rutgers Tuesday after visiting St. Bonaventure this weekend.
“We’ll have a full roster by the time we start,” Pikiell said.
Follow Adam Zagoria on TwitterAnd like ZAGS on Facebook
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.