Although the Rutgers men's basketball team was denied its expected entry into the NCAA Tournament, fans were cut a break on Sunday when four-star prospect, 6-foot-10-inch center Cliff Omoruyi announced on Twitter that he was committing to play on the Banks. Omoruyi is one of the most noteworthy recruits for head coach Steve Pikiell and presents an opportunity for the Scarlet Knights to build off of one of their best seasons in years.
Omoruyi was also considering Arizona State and Auburn before ultimately deciding to stay home. He played at Roselle Catholic, where he recently became the first player in school history to be named the Gatorade New Jersey Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Omoruyi is listed as the 41st best recruit in the nation and the eighth best center in this year's class, according to 247Sports.com. He is the second highest rated recruit to ever commit to Rutgers, only behind Mike Rosario, who was part of the Class of 2008.
Omoruyi adds another defensive presence to a team that finished sixth in the nation in defensive efficiency this past season. He looks to fill a void left by departing senior center Shaq Carter, and his shot blocking and rebounding abilities should have him fit right in with Pikiell's team.
Off the court, Omoruyi will look to build off of his academic resume as he maintained a 3.48 GPA throughout high school. He has also expressed interest in pursuing a degree in engineering, an interest he shares with sophomore center Myles Johnson, who took him on a tour of the engineering school last month on his official visit.
Omoruyi has been sought after by the coaching staff on the Banks and has also seen the same level of support from the players and fans. Last month at the Union County Tournament final, members of the Knights and also the Riot Squad were in attendance to watch Omoruyi play.
The Rutgers faithful knew the importance of his commitment and did its part to help convince the big man to stay in New Jersey. During the home game against Indiana on Jan. 15, during a media timeout in the second half, the student section began a "We want Cliff" chant, knowing that the recruit was sitting right behind the Knights' bench. This led to a number of other fans in the sellout crowd joining in on it until he stood up and acknowledged the fans. "I felt special," Omoruyi said when asked about the chant, according to ESPN.
Omoruyi is the second four-star recruit for Pikiell, with the first being 6-foot-8-inch guard Jaden Jones, who is a part of the Class of 2021. Jones spoke about what Omoruyi brings to the table. "I think that he is really good ... He is going to be a very dominant player," he said, according to 247Sports.com.
Omoruyi is the fourth and final scholarship Rutgers had to allocate for the 2020 recruiting class. He joins forwards Oskar Palmquist, who played for the Swedish national team, Mawot Mag, a South Sudan native who played for Prolific Prep in California and Dean Reiber, who hails from North Carolina.
With Omoruyi joining these three, the Knights have the 31st best class in the nation, up 94 spots from last year. Rutgers also moved up seven spots in the Big Ten rankings, being 6th in the conference this year.
The commitment of Omoruyi signals a shift in the men's basketball program. The Knights, led by Pikiell, are building a program that will improve upon this past season in order to become a stronger competitor nationally and in the Big Ten. That's exactly what brought Omoruyi to Piscataway.
"If you know what you bring to the table as a player and student, you don't have to go away from the state to accomplish your dreams. I want to set an example," Omoruyi said, according to the New York Post.
For updates on the Rutgers men's basketball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.