Tough road ahead
For now, though, Jordan has to complete a difficult reconstruction project. Three players —
including leading scorer Eli Carter
— transferred after Rice was fired, and top recruit Shane Rector
backed out to sign with Missouri
Jordan said he expected an exodus after the scandal
“I just told them, ‘You guys are looking to transfer out because you need change. Well, the change is me,’ ” he said. “If you’re not 100 percent in, you’re not in. If you’re 50-50, you’re out. You’ve got to give all your heart and soul on being here and enjoying Rutgers. They left, and I’m happy for them and I’m happy for us.”
Jordan believes his NBA experience will give him “credibility” in the eyes of recruits. New Jersey is rich in talent, New York City is nearby and he still has strong Washington ties from his time with the Wizards and D.C. Assault, which helped him get a commitment from O’Connell forward Junior Etou.
But he understands he has work to do to get more talent. After one season as a member of the newly formed American Athletic Conference, Rutgers will join the highly competitive Big Ten in 2014. Immediately after his introductory news conference at Rutgers two weeks ago, Jordan went to Brooklyn and tried — unsuccessfully — to lure point guard Jon Severe, one of the top remaining unsigned prospects in the 2013 class.
“The toughest thing for Eddie, he’s going to the Big Ten,” Young said. “And I don’t care who is going there; they’re not close to Big Ten talent right now. He can coach; that’s not going to be a problem. He’ll get along with people, faculty, the media, but it will come down to recruiting. If he gets players, he’ll win.”
For now, Jordan is focused on helping his alma mater heal.
“We’re not talking national championships. We’re not talking Final Four. We’re talking about a day-to-day process,” he said. “I don’t want to look past what we have to do today. That’s how you become good. If you look at the destination instead of everyday steps, you’re going to get sideways. You’re going to get impatient. You’re going to do things you don’t want to do. You’re going to miss a step if you look too far ahead.”