BREAKING: Rutgers’ Cam Spencer is entering transfer portal
The Scarlet Faithful has learned that Rutgers shooting guard Cam Spencer is entering the transfer portal. NIL money is the motivating factor in his decision to leave the program per sources.
Despite last week’s deadline for undergrads to maintain eligibility for next season, graduate transfers like Spencer are still able to enter the portal without penalty. It seems once that deadline passed, the demand for a grad transfer that is an elite shooter like Spencer increased.
It’s stunning news for a player who I previously confirmed as returning for his final year of eligibility just three weeks ago. This is a prime example of how quickly things can now change in college basketball recruiting. The transfer portal and NIL in combination are the kryptonite to roster stability. While tampering is against the rules, it’s hard to fathom it not occurring in this situation. There were no signs of Spencer considering a transfer prior to his decision.
Spencer did not walk on Senior Day, which is what most graduating seniors do even if they potentially can return. He just attended the RFund dinner representing the men’s basketball program last week. In addition, he also recently attended the Big Ten Golf Championships with Rutgers personnel as well.
In returning home following last weekend’s graduation, something changed. Now Spencer is entering the transfer portal.
This is obviously a massive blow to Rutgers for next season. It was a complete surprise to the program. Replacing its most efficient offensive player would have been hard enough in March or April. Having to do so now with Memorial Day approaching and many top transfers already committed elsewhere makes it that much worse.
Spencer had the highest offensive rating on the team last season at 119.4, which was No. 143 nationally. It was also the highest offensive rating of any Rutgers player during the Pikiell era. Spencer scored in double digits in 24 of 34 games. 15 different times, Cam scored 15 or more points. He was the best offensive player on Rutgers by a wide margin last season.
The 6’4” shooter earned a place in the record books in multiple categories for a single season in now potentially his only year for RU. He tied for the fifth highest single season three-point shooting percentage ever for RU at 43.4%. Spencer also produced the fifth best free throw shooting percentage in a single season at 89.4%. Per KenPom, Spencer was 23rd nationally in free throw shooting percentage and 44th in three-point shooting percentage.
He also swiped the sixth most steals (69) in a season in program history.
In regard to last season’s Rutgers team, Spencer led the team in minutes played (1074) and was third in minutes per game (31.6). He tied Cliff Omoruyi for scoring average at 13.2 points per game, but fell one point short for the team lead with 448 points. In addition to being second in steals, he was also second in assists behind Paul Mulcahy in averaging 3.1 per game. Lastly, Cam was also second to Mulcahy with a 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Just as much as his impact on the court, Spencer fit the program’s culture extremely well. He lived in the gym, was a total team player and cared about winning above all else. While doing what is best for himself in regard to making NIL money is fair and a well earned right, leaving so late in the offseason puts the program in a very bad spot.
With the additions of Noah Fernandes and Gavin Griffiths, along with the development of Derek Simpson, Spencer was poised to have an even better second season at Rutgers.
The sudden loss of Spencer significantly adds to the roster concerns for next season. Cliff Omoruyi’s return for next season is still in question. Rutgers has already lost former 4-star commit Baye Ndongo this offseason.
Steve Pikiell is also in the midst of replacing assistant coach Karl Hobbs and former Director of External Operations Tom Barrett. Needing to hire staff on top of now replacing a key starter, possibly more depending on Omoruyi, makes June hugely important for the 2023-2024 season.
An important offseason for the program has now reached a critical stage. The loss of Spencer puts Rutgers in the bottom half of the Big Ten on paper. There is still time to upgrade the roster. Obviously finding a shooter and a big man in the transfer portal, even if Cliff returns, is needed. Pikiell and the staff will now attempt to turn over every stone in the portal for players that can contribute next season. There is certainly opportunity available. Three scholarships are now open if Cliff Omoruyi and Paul Mulcahy ultimately return.
For now, the shock of Spencer transferring out brings the harsh reality of the NIL era to the forefront of Rutgers fans everywhere. A team’s roster today is not necessarily set for tomorrow.
Here is my rapid reaction podcast episode on Spencer’s departure.
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May 19, 2023 at 11:31 am
This is painful…I’m speechless.
May 19, 2023 at 11:40 am
Just took a sucker punch to the gut.
This is unbelievable. Take him off your Pikell impact transfer list.
Bottom line — all players (who Rutgers wants to stay) must be re-recruited through the entire off-season.
Sad, but good luck to Spencer and his family — this may be his best chance to make some money for the athletic skill he has developed.