Redshirt freshman forward Antonio Chol is ready to make an impact for the Rutgers men's basketball team this season. Chol saw limited action for the Scarlet Knights after taking a redshirt year last season.
Chol was a three-star recruit and a late addition to head coach Steve Pikiell's 2022 class. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward from Buffalo, New York, saw time in only four games last season and did not make an appearance after November.
Despite this, Chol was able to use his freshman year to learn and grow as a basketball player. The forward revealed what the off-season looked like for him.
"Just getting better, especially defensively, and just learning," Chol said. "I kind of know more things since I’ve seen it last year, but I’ve learned a lot of stuff."
On top of studying film, Chol spent the off-season working on his strength.
"I think the biggest improvement I’ve made this off-season is getting stronger," Chol said. "Last year, I wasn't as strong as I was slim, so I feel like this past off-season, I've gained a lot of strength in the weight room, and that’s really helped me."
Pikiell revealed that Chol gained 18 pounds over the summer, which will help him on the defensive side of the ball. Pikiell has also had high praise for Chol's shooting ability and positive attitude.
"Whenever you can bring in a high-flying, high-energy player who can really shoot the basketball, you’re excited," Pikiell said after Chol’s commitment in 2022.
Chol believes his biggest strength is his shooting, but he also sees himself as an all-around player who can contribute on offense and defense.
"I think shooting is definitely one of my strengths," Chol said. "Rebounding, just guarding a lot of positions, I feel that I could just be everywhere."
With the season right around the corner, Chol expressed his excitement to get back out on the court in a bigger role after logging just 19 minutes last year.
"One thing I’m looking forward to is actually playing at (Jersey Mike’s Arena)," Chol said. "I got to witness it, but when I’m actually in the mix playing, it’s way better, so I feel like I’m really looking forward to that."
Though Chol has personal goals, he mainly wants to help Rutgers make the NCAA Tournament after missing out last season.
"One goal for the team is to reach the tournament, win it," Chol stated. "That’s just a goal we have. We always reiterate it. We play hard, so as a team, that’s really our goal."
The Knights will look to start their season off on the right foot when they face off against Princeton on November 6 in their season opener.
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