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.
Ace Bailey, No. 2 recruit in 2024, officially signs with Rutgers
(Via Rutgers Athletics)
On Sunday, Jan. 15 the 2022-23 Rutgers men’s basketball team cheered in a victorious postgame locker room at Jersey Mike’s Arena.
The Scarlet Knights had just beaten Big Ten Conference foe Ohio State 68-64 in overtime in front of a sold-out home crowd. As the team gathered in the locker room, the cheering was set to grow even louder.
5-star recruit Airious “Ace” Bailey had just told head coach Steve Pikiell he was verbally committing to Rutgers University.
“He’s coming!” Pikiell shouted.
The Scarlet Knights celebrated one of the best high school recruits in the nation and his family smiled alongside him. Bailey had just made his verbal commitment to join The Knighthood.
Bailey took the next step in his commitment to RU on Saturday night Nov. 11 as he officially signed his National Letter of Intent following his game at MacEachern High School against Grayson at the Georgia Elite 8 Classic. The 6-foot-8 185-pound forward is ranked as high as the No. 2 player in the entire 2024 high school class and is set to go down as the highest recruit in the University’s history.
“We are excited to welcome Ace Bailey to The Knighthood,” Pikiell said. “Ace is unique. He can play all five positions at 6-foot-9. He has a chance to be an elite offensive and defensive player and he can really pass the basketball. He has the quickest feet that I’ve seen in high school basketball in a very long time. He has a competitive spirit and an energy about him that is going to make him truly one of the all-time great Scarlet Knights.”
The Scarlet Knights staff believes that Bailey can play all five positions on the basketball court and boasts some of the best raw talent in the nation. The staff has not only been impressed with his skills on the offensive side of the ball, but Pikiell and Co. also believe his defensive skills are some of the bests they’ve seen at the high school level.
Bailey moved to Powder Springs, GA. to play at MacEachern High School at the beginning of his sophomore season and his game started to take off and garner national attention.
Bailey is the best player in the 2024 class out of the state of Georgia. Bailey is the highest-ranked recruit in the Pikiell era and officially tops Mike Rosario (No. 16) as the top recruit in school history.
The Scarlet Knights welcomed Bailey to campus on Oct. 13 for homecoming weekend for his official visit alongside many of the team’s other members of the 2024-25 class. Bailey took in Rutgers football’s comeback victory over Michigan State. Bailey was joined by his mother Ramika McGee his stepfather Antoric Wilson and his father Richard Bailey on his visits to Rutgers. Bailey’s AAU and high school coaches Cedric Dozier, Damon Wilson, and Tremayne Anchrum Sr.
Current Scarlet Knights guard Jamichael Davis goes back to childhood with Bailey and the two played together alongside each other in high school at McEachern and AAU at Athletes of Tomorrow. Their McEachern High School team finished 23-7 last season and 8-0 in their region, which was good for first place and was one of the best teams in the state.
Bailey’s decision to join RU was the decision following a top-12 that consisted of Tennessee, Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama, Memphis, Oregon, Arkansas, Kansas, West Virginia, and South Carolina before choosing Rutgers.
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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.