Rutgers’ men’s basketball added a key item to the roster on Sunday night as LSU transfer Aundre Hyatt announced his commitment to the program on Instagram.
The former 3-star rookie was a priority target for head coach Steve Pikiell and staff during the 2018 recruiting cycle and he had paid an official visit. However, Hyatt ultimately chose to start his college basketball career in Baton Rouge. The 6’6 ”wing from New York started 15 of 24 games for LSU this winter, as the Tigers went 19-10 and lost to Michigan in the second round of the NCAA tournament. He averaged 4.2 points on 44.7% shots and caught 3.1 rebounds in 15.9 minutes per game last season. His offensive rating of 119.1 was the team’s second best for regular rotating players.
Hyatt improved throughout the season and played their best basketball in March. He scored 8 points and had 8 rebounds in a one-point loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship, playing a record-breaking season of 33 minutes. This was followed by his best performance of the season in LSU’s first round victory over Saint-Bonaventure in the big dance. He recorded his only double-double of the year, scoring 13 points on 50% shots and knocking down 10 boards, as well as 4 blocked shots, 2 assists and one steal in 32 minutes of action.
After Hyatt’s emergence, LSU head coach Will Wade spoke about his improved game after the win over the Bonnies.
“I trust him. He’s stable. You know where he’s going to be, and that’s why as a coach you stay with the guys. We got away from him a bit over there in the middle of it. ‘year, but he earned that starting spot, “Wade said.” It’s not like we’re just handing out starting points like Halloween candy or something on Halloween, you show up and you have it. He deserved it. He deserved it in his preseason and how hard he worked, and as a head coach I have confidence in that and we have it. He came in. He came huge for us. He came huge for us against Alabama, he came huge for us in this game here. That’s why you guys stay with the guys.
Hyatt entered the transfer portal less than two weeks ago and after the initial wave of players. He has three years of eligibility remaining despite starting his fourth year of university this fall. He had had a previous year in the red shirt due to a knee injury and that final season counted as a free year according to the NCAA ruling due to COVID.
Hyatt had interest from Texas A&M, Pitt, Penn State and Georgia and was the No.19 transfer available a week ago according to Evan Miyakawa. rankings.
Pikiell empowers its players to be outspoken community leaders and Hyatt should respond to this bill as well. It was one of six athletes at LSU to serve on the executive committee of the Black Student Athlete Association.
The addition of Hyatt gives the Rutgers a ton of depth at the wing position as they are set to fire Caleb McConnell, along with Jaden Jones, Mawot Mag and Oskar Palmquist. Of course, Ron Harper Jr. can always come back if he withdraws his name from NBA Draft consideration before July 19. His return seems more likely than not, but Hyatt could play four as well.
Pikiell enjoys the versatility of roster and lineup, especially having the ability to go against each other in different ways defensively. Hyatt offers even more flexibility and is also an insurance policy if Harper Jr. finally turns pro sooner or after the following season. Hyatt also fits the culture of the program well and has a wealth of experience. It’s a great addition to the roster by adding someone who will acclimatize well to the team chemistry and be a key part of the base rotation.
Rutgers has yet to add a big man after the losses of Myles Johnson and Mamadou Doucoure, who transferred to UCLA and LaSalle respectively. John Harrar, who decided to stay at Penn State, and DePaul’s Pauly Paulicap, who decided to transfer to West Virginia, were two main transfers targeted by the coaching staff. Finding a post-up player to complete Cliff Omoruyi is the top priority. Dean Reiber could fill that role, but depth in the frontcourt is always a concern. With two purses potentially remaining, it remains to be seen whether Rutgers will fill them both.
If Geo Baker and Harper Jr. return, Rutgers will have five players with starting experience with Hyatt, one starting at LSU. Additionally, there is a talented young group behind them, highlighted by Jaden Jones and Mawot Mag. Add a great man and the outlook for next season should be positive.