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4-star prospect Baye Ndongo decommits from Rutgers



Photo credit Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers received some bad news on the recruiting trail on Thursday as 4-star Baye Ndongo has decommitted. There was speculation following Ndongo not signing when the period began two weeks ago. Joe Tipton of On3 Sports broke the news on Thursday afternoon.

Ndgong provided the following statement to On3:

“To start, I would like to thank the Rutgers coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to play the game I love and further my education at such an amazing university. However, after a lot of prayer and talking to my family and my support system, I have decided to de-commit and reopen my recruitment. Lastly, I wish nothing but the best for Rutgers University, the basketball program and the coaches.”

Former Rutgers assistant Karl Hobbs was the lead recruiter for Ndongo. Hobbs recently left and was hired by new Georgia Tech head coach Damon Stoudamire. Ndongo has not announced where he will end up but Georgia Tech as well as Georgetown have been reported as possibilities.

The 4-star big man is ranked the No. 5 prospect in Connecticut, the No. 25 power forward and the No. 115 recruit in the 2023 class overall per 247 Sports. Ndongo has developed an intriguing offensive game so early in his career with room to grow. He moves well with the ball, is a good passer for his size and has a nice shooting touch for a big man. He can shoot from the perimeter including from behind the arc. Ndongo has even showcased an ability to attack the rim and beat defenders off the dribble. He looks like he could develop into a true stretch 4 at high major level, which is a coveted skill set.

There is no doubt this is a significant loss for head coach Steve Pikiell and the coaching staff. It’s also likely a product of the current recruiting climate with NIL. It’s been reported that Ndongo was ready to sign with Rutgers, but others in his camp were looking for NIL money. Ndongo has risen up the recruiting rankings since verbally committing to Rutgers back in January. Once Hobbs left, Ndongo’s situation appeared to change.

The good news is that 3-star guard Jamichael Davis is expected to sign with Rutgers in the coming days. He would join the highest rated recruit ever signed by Rutgers in Gavin Griffiths, who made it official last November and will join the program soon.

Rutgers continues to hold scholarships for Cliff Omoruyi and Paul Mulcahy, who both entered the NBA Draft process but maintained their eligibility to return. The deadline for early entrants to withdraw is May 31.

While the program waits on both of their decisions, they have two additional open scholarships for next season. The Scarlet Knights have been linked to 5-star Mackenzie Mgbako. 4-star Papa Kante recently was released to his letter of intent from Michigan. Both class of 2023 Top 100 prospects remain possibilities, as does adding a big man through the transfer portal.

Here is the current depth chart as of now.

Frontcourt: Mawot Mag, Antwone Woolfolk

Wings: Aundre Hyatt, Gavin Griffiths, Antonio Chol

Backcourt: Cam Spencer, Noah Fernandes, Derek Simpson, *Jamichael Davis (expected to sign)

*Cliff Omoruyi and Paul Mulcahy can potentially return*

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  1. Henry Rutgers

    April 27, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    I was once counseled to look at the school, not the coach because coaches come and go. Of course, decades ago that was probably good advice since transferring was rare and you weren’t even permitted to accept reimbursement for gas and tolls to drive to a summer league game. It is different today. Coaches matter, we have the portal and NIL to contend with. I’d have thought our release of Hobbs would have included him not recruiting our players or prospects. It would bother me some if M2 went to GT with Hobbs but not enough to lose any sleep over. Only enough to question the draft and terms of Hobbs release.

  2. BataliBoli98

    April 27, 2023 at 5:44 pm

    Obviously this is disappointing but certainly not shocking. I know that they get paid a lot but I do feel for college coaches these days as recruiting and re-recruiting have become as time consuming as actually coaching the team. This departure will only have a significant impact on the 2023-24 season if Cliff opts not to return. If that is the case, Pikiell will have to pull a rabbit out of his hat in finding a big man.

  3. thevinman

    April 28, 2023 at 12:31 am

    There was a long string of good exciting news so we had to expect an eventual setback.

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