Before we ultimately put a lid on the 2012-13 season, Play For The Garden is evaluating the year of each member of the Big East.
Team: Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Record: 15-16 overall / 5-13 in Big East
How did their season end: did not reach the postseason
Leading scorer: Eli Carter with 14.9 PPG
Leading rebounder: Wally Judge with 5.4 RPG
Mike Rice’s third year as head coach at Rutgers was supposed to be different. The Scarlet Knights finally looked to be heading in the right direction and were hoping to finish .500 or better in the Big East for the first time since the 2001-02 season. This was to be Rice’s most experienced team and the influx of some talented transfers were to help further. In his two previous years, Rice had obtained modest improvements for his team. But the 2012-13 squad was deeper and more talented than any of the teams he had before.
The season didn’t start well as they lost their first game of the season to St. Peter’s at home. It was an awful start for a team with so much optimism, and unfortunately was just a precursor of what was to come.
On December 13, Rice was suspended three games and fined $50,000 for mistreating players. Come to find out upon the completion of the season when practice video tapes were released to the public, that Rice had been physically and verbally assaulting his players for years.
Throwing balls at players, shoving them, kicking them and verbally abusing them not only got him fired, but it never worked to make the team better.
And unfortunately for the team the off the court issues were the only fireworks of the year. They had two quality wins all season – Iona and Pittsburgh – and ended up losing 13 of their last 17 games of the season.
The addition of Wally Judge (transfer from Kansas St. and was a top-20 recruit in the class of 2009) was supposed to give Rutgers a dominant presence in the low post. He showed flashes of his potential from time-to-time, but it was mainly more of the same old underwhelming Judge. Eli Carter and Myles Mack were expected to be a rather formidable back court, but they often struggled as well. And Dane Miller once again didn’t seem to reach his potential.
It was another disappointing season for Rutgers that was in the press for all the wrong reasons.
Final Grade: C-
The 2012-13 season for Rutgers will forever be known for Mike Rice’s unbelievable actions. His actions got him fired, and while it’s impossible to know how they impacted his team, I think we can all agree it wasn’t in a good way. The Scarlet Knights didn’t do anything of note this year to suggest they are on a path to greater success and now they will have to start over with a new coach while headed to a new conference.