Kadeem Jack and Myles Mack both have two years of eligibility remaining, and both made Rutgers fans happy this evening with their declarations to remain on board with new head coach Eddie Jordan and not seek transfers elsewhere.
But while both players made their decisions official and public today, the gears on their return had been in motion for some time, according to Jack.
"Me and Myles, we spoke early on about trying to stick it out. I spoke with Myles when a lot of the players were actually talking about leaving," Jack said. "It was kind of a big blow for us, seeing all these players leaving, but I had lunch with him probably a week ago. We just spoke about staying and trying to get other players to come here, things like that, just making sure we do what we actually came here to do."
Jack and Mack will likely serve as the building blocks of Jordan's early years on the banks, and Mack has been trying to build a supporting cast not just from within the roster but outside of it.
"Since everything happened, I've been talking to a couple of guys-I'm not going to say any names-that they're recruiting and am trying to get them to come up here and visit very soon," he said.
Mack will likely serve as the floor general next year, a role his head coach held during his time as a Rutgers player from 1973-77. The two have been talking shop over the past couple of days as Jordan tries to implement his blueprint for the team.
"He's been great," Mack said. "On the court he's been telling us a few things about our games that we need to work with. I think it's all coming along."
Forward Wally Judge, entering his final collegiate season, said he feels he can benefit greatly from Jordan, who has been an NBA head coach for three different franchises.
"I look forward to him teaching me a lot of the things that I don't know," Judge said. "You can learn from everybody and with his credentials, he's a great teacher."
Jordan's reputation is as a coach who tries to drill his team on the fundamentals, a strategy that suits Jack, who along with Judge, Derrick Randall and Greg Lewis are interior players who remain with the program.
"I think he'll help me a lot, working on my game," Jack said. "Because like I said before, he kind of focuses on the fundamentals of the game first, and that's something I think I need to go back [to], because I've kind of played off athleticism my whole life. I need to get back to that."
During his press conference, Jordan said he feels there is enough talent remaining in the program to overachieve. A losing season is being regarded as a given by most pundits, but Judge said the opportunity to have a fresh start and overcome low expectations is a welcome one.
"It's an extreme motivating factor because you look at everything that's happened and all the scrutiny that's come upon us, and now it's time for us to rise up again and put our names back in the papers for a good reason."