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Recapping Rutgers men's basketball's busy month of May

Head coach Steve Pikiell has been busy in May as he tries to assemble a competitive team for the upcoming Rutgers men's basketball season. – Photo by

Jon Rothstein, a college basketball insider for CBS Sports, has a famous saying about college basketball.

"We sleep in May," said Rothstein.

While Rothstein may now be fast asleep, head coach Steve Pikiell and the Rutgers men's basketball team were wide awake during an eventful offseason in April and May. While the offseason is not over, the transfer portal is starting to slow down. The Scarlet Knights are facing a crucial time as they try to get back to the NCAA Tournament in the upcoming season.

For those that cannot keep track of everything that's going on, let’s look at the good, the bad and the ugly of Rutgers' offseason in May and the potential moves the team could make in June and beyond.

The good

The best news of the offseason for the Knights came on the last day of May when junior center Clifford Omoruyi announced on Instagram that he is returning to Rutgers for one last season. Omoruyi's return is a huge boost for the Knights' 2024 NCAA Tournament hopes. The player gives Rutgers an elite center next season that could be a potential All-American.

Before announcing his return to the Knights, Omoruyi put his name into the 2023 NBA Draft. He then competed in the G League Elite Camp, where he performed well but ultimately did not get the call-up to the NBA Draft Combine. Omoruyi eventually withdrew from the NBA Draft and announced his return to Rutgers for his senior season.

The other big news for the Knights came on May 22 when Marlon Williamson was announced as Rutgers' new assistant coach. Williamson will replace the recently departed Karl Hobbs on the Knights' coaching staff. Before joining Rutgers, Williamson had been an assistant coach for Central Michigan since 2021. Williamson is said to be close to current associate head coach Brandin Knight.

Other small pieces of good news came on the recruiting front for the Knights. On May 24, Richard Schnyderite, a publisher for and The Knight Report, submitted a FutureCast for Rutgers to land 2024 five-star guard Dylan Harper. While a FutureCast does not necessarily mean that Harper will play on the Banks, it is encouraging news. If Harper were to commit to the Knights, it would give them two top-five recruits in the 2024 recruiting class.

That is not the only player Rutgers is pursuing in the 2024 recruiting class. 2024 four-star forward recruit Bryce Dortch recently took an official visit to Rutgers. The Knights seem to be trending in the upward direction for the recruitment of Dortch.

In the 2023 class, it appears Rutgers is making a late push for three-star shooting guard Joey Hart. Hart was previously committed to the University of Central Florida but decommitted in the middle of May. Now Kentucky, Indiana and the Knights are all in hot pursuit of the shooting guard from Linton, Indiana.

The bad

It has not been all good news for Rutgers in May. Though senior guard Paul Mulcahy withdrew from the NBA Draft, he has still not announced his plans for the upcoming season. He could return to the Knights, enter the transfer portal as a graduate transfer, pursue a career overseas or just retire from basketball. Mulcahy recently attended the NIL Summit, where he won Athlete Advocate of the Year.

Rutgers was hit with more bad news on May 23, when 2024 four-star point guard Dellquan Warren announced he was decommitting from the program. Before his decommitment, Warren was projected to be a key piece in the 2024 recruiting class. Warren did not rule out the possibility of returning to the Knights and also stated he did not leave because of the Name, Image and Likeness money that Rutgers was giving him.

The last piece of bad news for the Knights is the lack of news regarding the transfer portal. Even if Mulcahy were to return to play on the Banks, Rutgers would still have two open scholarship spots for the 2023-2024 season. Despite this, the Knights were not reported to be connected to a lot of transfer portal players in May.

At this point in June, there is very little talent left in the transfer portal. Ideally, Rutgers would want to get one more player from the transfer player to help with its depth for the upcoming season.

The ugly

The worst off-season news for the program came on May 19, when it was reported that Cam Spencer would shockingly be entering the transfer portal as a graduate transfer. The news was shocking because Spencer had previously attended the RFund dinner representing the Knights, and he also attended the Big Ten Golf Championships with other people from Rutgers. It was reported that Spencer is leaving to try and receive more Name, Image and Likeness money from other programs.

The loss of Spencer is a huge blow to the Knights' 2024 NCAA Tournament hopes. Spencer was the team's best shooter last season and was second on the team, scoring 448 points last season. Spencer was also an extremely strong player for Rutgers, hitting two game-winning shots against Purdue and Northwestern respectively. The Knights will have to replace Spencer’s production by the committee as his late entrance into the transfer portal left Pikiell and Rutgers with very few options to replace him.

Spencer is currently visiting Miami, UConn, Oklahoma and UCLA and is one of the best players left in the transfer portal.


The Knights and Pikiell will most likely have a calmer rest of the summer. Rutgers will be holding summer practices, and in August, it will go on a cultural tour to Senegal and Portugal, where it will also play some exhibition games.

On the front office side of things, Pikiell will most likely be working on getting a player from the transfer portal to fill out the roster. He will also be looking to replace former Director of External Operations Tom Barrett, who left to become an assistant coach at Sacred Heart.

Finally, Pikiell and the rest of the staff will be working on scheduling the rest of the non-conference schedule for the 2023-2024 season. As of now, the Knights will host Georgetown in the Gavitt Games and will travel to take on Seton Hall and Wake Forest. Rutgers will also play Saint Peter’s on November 27 and Long Island University on December 16.

While it has been a busy April and May for Pikiell, this will most likely become the new normal for college basketball coaches with the new transfer portal rules.

For more updates on the Rutgers men's basketball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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