Previewing The American: Rutgers

Jonathan Daniel

A highly touted freshman and four juniors highlight a Rutgers team that is one of the youngest in the AAC.

After a disappointing season in the Big East, the Scarlet Knights will rent space in the AAC this season before moving on to the Big 10 next year. Rutgers last made the NCAA tournament in 2012 and they'll be looking to get back this year, though they'll be facing some tough conference competition to do so.

Rutgers is a decidedly young team. They do not have a single senior on the team and are instead led by a group of four juniors of which three are returners. The Scarlet Knights will get a boost from the most highly touted point guard prospect in the country in Tyler Scaife, but will her impact be immediate enough to lift Rutgers back to the big dance?

2012-13 Record: 16-14 (7-9 Big East)

Highest Ranking in 2012-13: N/A

2012-13 Conference: Big East

2013-14 Season Opener: 11/10 vs. Princeton University

Who's back:

  • Ariel Butts: As a freshman, Butts didn't see much action. She played in 19 games and averaged just over a point a game.
  • Briyona Canty: Red-shirted last year after she injured her knee just seven games into the season. Canty led the team in assists at the time of her injury.
  • Kahleah Copper: Was voted to the all-freshman team last season and played in all 30 games. She averaged 16.5 minutes a game and came off the bench in all but five of her appearances.
  • Syessence Davis: Carried the point guard load after the injury to Canty. Davis started in 23 games and played in all 30. Presumably she will resume backup duties at the point with the return of Canty.
  • Christa Evans: The 6-3 forward started 10 games last season as a sophomore and averaged a couple of points and rebounds a game.
  • Rachel Hollivay: As a freshman Hollivay started five games and appeared in 29. At 6-4, the forward is the tallest member of the team.
  • Betnijah Laney: Started in 29 games and averaged nine points and five rebounds a contest. Laney is one of four juniors on the team.
  • Precious Person: Started one game and appeared in 25. Person averaged two points a game.

Who's new:

  • Alex Alfano: A 5-6 point guard from New Jersey, Alfano 10 points, four rebounds and three assists as a high school senior.
  • Alexis Burke: The redshirt junior sat out last season after transferring from the University of Illinois but will figure to be a factor as one of the oldest members of the team.
  • Tyler Scaife: An ESPN Top-100 recruit, Scaife is rated as the number one point guard prospect in the country and the number nine prospect overall. Rated a 96 by ESPN, Scaife could have a huge impact on the Scarlet Knights season. I embedded a highlight video of her below and I encourage you to check it out ... this girl is gonna be fun to watch.

Full Roster:

33 Alex Alfano G Fr. 5-8 Red Bank Catholic / Atlantic Highlands, N.J.
22 Alexis Burke F R-Jr. 5-11 Bainbridge/Illinois / Bainbridge, Ga.
43 Ariel Butts F/C So. 6-3 Carver / Columbus, Ga.
4 Briyona Canty G R-So. 5-9 Trenton Catholic / Willingboro, N.J.
2 Kahleah Copper G So. 6-1 Prep Charter / Philadelphia, Pa.
15 Syessence Davis G Jr. 5-7 Neptune / Neptune, N.J.
20 Christa Evans F/C Jr. 6-3 Jackson Memorial / Jackson, N.J.
1 Rachel Hollivay F So. 6-4 Heritage Academy / Columbus, Miss.
44 Betnijah Laney G/F Jr. 6-0 Smyrna / Clayton, Del.
5 Precious Person G So. 6-1 Charles Drew / Jonesboro, Ga.
3 Tyler Scaife G Fr. 5-9 Hall / Little Rock, Ark.
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