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Steve Pikiell details August overseas trip for Rutgers men’s basketball




Rutgers men’s basketball came out with a new episode of head coach Steve Pikiell’s podcast to give several offseason updates. Pikiell admitted it’s been “crazy” in recent weeks, but also recognized the positives of the program garnering so much attention.

“Seven years ago, eight years ago, we weren’t talking about anything. A lot of exciting times,” Pikiell emphasized. “It’s partly due to where the program has been the last few years. Getting better. Exciting recruits. Huge fan base. That they’re talking about us in May is a really good thing.”

Pikiell discussed finalizing the coaching staff including the hiring of assistant coach Marlon Williamson.

He also spoke briefly about working towards completing the non-conference schedule.

“We’re waiting on contracts,” Pikiell explained. “We’re working on a game at the Barclays Center which will be another high level game, which I’m excited about.”

In discussing the roster, Pikiell did confirm that Jamichael Davis is a part of the program. While his signing hasn’t been officially announced, he will be in Piscataway this summer.

“JayMike is a talented player out of Atlanta. He’s tough and hard nosed. He’s a Rutgers kind of guy,” Pikiell said.

There was also a lot revealed in regard to the program’s overseas trip planned for August. The NCAA rules allow for one offseason trip every four years. Rutgers last went to Spain in 2019, which helped ready the team for what was a breakout 20 win campaign a few months later. Pikiell and the team will hope this trip can help spark a similar result. He spoke about the destinations and the plan for this trip.

“We’re going to Africa,” Pikiell said. “A lot of teams won’t travel there. We’re excited we are going to be in Dakar. We’re going to play against some high level basketball teams. We are going to travel to some historic places. Get to go to on a safari and do some neat things.”

The trip continues to a second location as well.

“And then we are going to go to Lisbon in Portugal. Which is a short plane ride from there,” Pikiell stated. “We’ll get a chance to enjoy Lisbon and Algarve which is the beach. A nice beach community.”

Pikiell spoke about the benefit of the experience for the student-athletes.

“Getting a chance to touring some of the most historic places in the world.  A great learning experience. A great basketball experience. It’s great team bonding.”

From a basketball standpoint, this trip provides a lot of opportunities for the players and the coaches to get a jump start on next season.

“We’re going to practice ten times before we leave. We’re going to play four or five high level games. For our players, just a great trip,” Pikiell said.

As great as a trip it is for the program on many levels, the basketball experience they get is invaluable in preparing for what’s ahead. Pikiell explained the benefits and his approach.

“Try some different lineups. Get a real chance to see the improvement of our veteran guys who have returned. Our young guys (too),” Pikiell said. “Great practice opportunities before the season starts. Gives us a little snapshot going into the season. I like (that) the most, trying to figure your team out a little bit in August.”

In addition, Pikiell spoke at length about NIL, the changing dynamics within recruiting, the opportunity next season for younger players and more. You can watch the entire conversation with Pikiell and Jerry Recco below.

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