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Five Things to know about Rutgers commit Baye Ndongo



Baye Ndongo
Photo credit Rutgers Athletics

Rutgers men’s basketball earned its third commitment for its 2023 recruiting class on Monday as 3-star forward Baye Ndongo announced his decision at his school Colorado Prep.

The 3-star big man is ranked the No. 3 prospect in Colorado, the No. 40 power forward and the No. 190 in the 2023 class overall per 247 Sports. He joins top 35 and high 4-star signee Gavin Griffiths as well as unranked point guard Jamichael Davis. The 6’10” native of Senegal was a highly sought after recruit that has a lot of upside in his game. Ndongo will bring plenty of potential to Piscataway.

Here are five things to know about Rutgers commit Baye Ndongo.

Rutgers beat out other Big Ten programs

Michigan and Nebraska recruited Ndongo. He included both programs in his top five along with Colorado and San Diego. Ndongo took official visits to all four programs including the Cornhuskers just last month. However, the big man visited Rutgers less than two weeks ago and ultimately chose to become a Scarlet Knight. Michigan recently landed 4-star big man Papa Kante over Rutgers so beating them out for Ndongo is a good response. Overall, Baye had close to a dozen high major offers including Providence, Penn State, Washington, Washington State and Arizona State among others.

Ndongo is a natural rim defender

He displays natural instincts and fluidity as a shot blocker that is rare for his age. His explosive leaping ability along with his timing and ability to avoid contact when pursuing the ball on blocked shots is a strength. His willingness to defend at the high school level is a positive sign as well. Ndongo is versatile with his ability to defend multiple positions and athleticism.

Offensive game is promising

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.

Rating Seems Too Low

Based on his talent, Ndongo feels like he is rated lower than he should be. He is a talented two way player who displays a skill set worthy of a 4-star rating. In addition, he is athletic and plays with a high motor on both ends of the floor.

247 Sports recruiting analyst Travis Barnham wrote this about Ndongo last month after including him as a standout performer at an event in Las Vegas.

“He’s long, strong and powerful with the ability to impact the game as a defender, rebounder and by facing the rim on the offensive end of the floor.

Ndongo is a certified sleeper with plenty of talent and ability to impact the game at a high major level.

At Tarkanian he has shown the ability to make shots, score at the rim, flashed feel as a passer and again showed his upside on the glass and defensive end of the floor.”

There are only a couple of reasons I can see why Ndongo isn’t rated as a 4-star prospect. Perhaps it is his wiry frame and the need to bulk up to excel at the high major level. Or is it just the is a case of not getting seen enough by certain recruiting services over the past year as well? Regardless, Ndongo jumps out on film as an impact player on the floor who has a high ceiling with his future.

Fits system at Rutgers very well

Steve Pikiell has once again landed a player with high upside that is a good fit for his program. Ndongo plays hard on both ends of the floor and has versatility in his game. His ability to play and defend multiple positions is another trademark quality of a Rutgers recruit under Pikiell. Adding him to the 2023 class to play alongside Griffiths, a top ten wing this cycle, gives Rutgers two very talented and diverse frontcourt players. Together they can pose matchup problems for opponents.

Ndongo needs to bulk up his 6’10”, 220 pound frame to withstand the physical play of the Big Ten. However, his talent and potential extremely intriguing. With player development a strength of the Rutgers coaching staff, their excitement in having the opportunity to help grow Ndongo’s game is likely off the charts. The athletic big man has the potential to be a major steal for this program on the recruiting trail despite being a top 200 recruit. His upside should have Rutgers fans even more excited about the future.

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  1. BataliBoli98

    January 10, 2023 at 3:09 am

    Certainly a very exciting get for Pikiell and his staff. If Cliff does in fact leave after this season, RU desperately needs some depth in the pivot. Of course, the most intriguing part is this young man’s upside. Give DVD a year with him and that 220 pound frame will be closer to 235+.

    Aaron, can you summarize what this means for RU regarding scholarships for next season? In another outlet they have Mulcahy, Hyatt, and Spencer all having one more year. Is that accurate? I knew Spencer did because he only played in a few games in 2020-21. Regardless, if Cliff leaves, I think that RU might need a big man transfer, which should be easier to lure this off season. I view Woolfork as a very solid 4, Reiber as a rotational stretch 4 and Ndongo as a guy who develops as the season progresses.

  2. InPikeWeTrust

    January 10, 2023 at 3:42 am

    I think Cliff stays unless he goes bananas in the next 2 months. If he does leave, which would mean we have an extremely productive 5-man the rest of the way, then it will be interesting if the staff prioritizes a transfer big or not. Woolfolk will be ready to play starter minutes in many aspects of the game. He’s just slightly smaller than some of the beasts in the Big you typically have to go to war against. If you play even more full court pressure, Woolf could really be optimized because he has awesome feet for that position (any position really). Question is could this young man who just committed and Reiber handle the rest of the minutes. We would definitely be small at the 5 but plenty athletic.

    If Cliff returns, him Gavin, Cam, Paul and Mag are a preseason top 10 starting five.

    Man, is Pike starting to ramp up the recruiting. That 2024 class is gonna be a monster! Makes one wonder what the ceiling for this program is??? We’re currently blowing past my wildest dreams.

  3. Aaron Breitman

    January 10, 2023 at 3:57 am

    Thanks for commenting guys. Yes it’s true that Mulcahy, Hyatt and Spencer all have one more year left. Paul actually graduated after three years so he’s in grad school. I think he returns but who knows he could decided to stop playing regardless like Myles Johnson did this year with UCLA.

    Right now after Ndongo’s commitment, Rutgers is one scholarship player over the limit for next season. So Pikiell either knows someone is definitely leaving or they expect someone will. I think it’s possible more than one player leaves just based on the reality of the game today and the roster getting more talented. I really like Ndongo. We’ll see what happens but it will be an interesting offseason for sure.

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