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January 24, 2013
Rutgers basketball went through the early signing period without a commitment, but head coach Mike Rice and staff are on the board with the addition of burgeoning combo guard Shane Rector of South Kent (Ct.) School.
Rector committed to the Scarlet Knights this morning after earning an offer last week. According to South Kent head coach Kelvin Jefferson, the 6-foot-1 Rector has always been on the Scarlet Knights radar, but their pursuit of him intensified recent.
"They watched him a lot over the summer, Coach Rice and his assistants, and from my understanding, they weren't sure that they had that need at the time," Jefferson said. "As time went on, they decided they did have that need for someone who can create offense, get in the lane, break down players and create easy shots for themselves or teammates.
"That's when they turned up their recruitment. They've been hard on him lately and it happened quickly."
A former member of the famed New Jersey Playaz AAU program, Rector was a standout at St. Raymond's in the Bronx before heading to South Kent this season. As he began to gain different exposure this winter, his recruitment began to take off, with a host of high majors recently inquiring about his services.
"Being at South Kent, he has had the opportunity to play on a big stage against some of the best players in the country and he's proven that he can play on this stage and more than hold his own," Jefferson said. "Colleges started to say, 'wow this kid is pretty good.' Rutgers did a great job of getting in on him early because I have gotten a bunch of calls lately."
Rector has handled point guard duties for South Kent this year, averaging 15 points and six assists per game. Jefferson said his skills are best suited at that position.
"The biggest thing for us or any team is to have a solid point guard who can get the team into an offense, lead his teammates and run the team," Jefferson said. "Shane has superior command of the basketball as he's dribbling it. You can see that when you watch him. He also has an ability to get a shot for himself or his teammates at any time."
Rector's ability as a creator stems largely from his penchant for breaking down defenders off the dribble and causing the defense to shift.
"He's very good with the ball in his hands," Jefferson said. "If you try to press up on him, you're not going to take it from him. He's going to be able to get to the rim and any spot on the court when he wants. That makes him a big asset for any program."
In the end, Rector's opportunity to help out a program will come in Piscataway, which Jefferson said appealed to him for a variety of reasons.
"Rutgers is close to home, it's close to his family, it's close to New York. A lot of players at Rutgers are guys he is familiar with. Those things help.
"One of the big things that he saw is they really have a need for player like him. They want him, but also need him. He sees a chance to come in and learn and develop but also compete for minutes right away as a freshman."