PISCATAWAY, NJ—Rutgers men’s basketball season is still fast approaching, but the Scarlet Knights have already suffered a loss.
Highly-touted Class of 2016 prospect Kwe Parker has decommitted from the program, and will re-open his recruitment, Parker announced via Twitter on November 3.
Parker, a senior at Wesleyan Christian Academy in North Carolina, verbally committed to the Scarlet Knights in August. He chose Rutgers over Florida, Florida State and Wake Forest.
“After much thought and prayer, I have decided to decommit from Rutgers [and] re-open my recruiting,” the point guard wrote on Twitter. “I thank Rutgers for their time [and] interest.”
The news is a crushing blow for coach Eddie Jordan, as his program is now left with zero verbal commits in the 2016 class.
With the early signing period just one week away, Rutgers now has four open scholarships left unfilled.
Before the setback, Jordan had landed some big wins on the recruiting trail.
During last year’s early signing period, Jordan landed guard Corey Sanders, who ranked 32nd on ESPN’s annual list of the top 100 high school players in the country
Back in April, Jordan gained a commitment from power forward Deshawn Freeman, one of the top junior college players in the country.
At 6′ 2″ and 172 pounds, Parker is listed as a four-star recruit by recruiting site 247Sports, which ranks him as the #9 point guard in the nation.
Parker gained popularity through various YouTube videos, showing off his ability to throw down exciting and athletic dunks.
The exact reason behind Parker’s sudden decision is unknown, but Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press suggests other teams have begun to express interest in Parker.
A return to Rutgers is not out of the question for Parker, but the Scarlet Knights appear to have more competition if Carino’s claims are true. A resolution by the end of the early signing period seems unlikely.
According to 247Sports, Parker received offers from a total of 11 schools, including Clemson, East Carolina, Nebraska and Virginia Tech in addition to Parker’s four finalists.
It is a surprising and unfortunate turn of events, as Parker seemed sold on Rutgers, attending the football game against Ohio State just a few weeks ago on October 24.
The early signing period, during which recruits can make their commitments official, begins November 11 and ends November 18.
If Parker had signed during that week, he would have officially joined the Scarlet Knights program for the 2016-17 season.
There was once hope that Rutgers could form a dynamic backcourt duo in 2016 consisting of Parker and Corey Sanders, a four-star guard who is expected to be an every-game starter for the Scarlet Knights.
After November 18, Rutgers will be unable to sign a recruit until next April.
The Scarlet Knights’ season tips off on Friday, November 13 when the Scarlet Knights host Rutgers-Newark at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway.