Rutgers prospect decommits

South Kent School (Conn.) point guard and Bronx native Shane Rector confirmed he decommitted Tuesday from Rutgers after coach Mike Rice's firing.

Rutgers is still an option for the 6-foot-1 guard, but he wanted to give himself alternative choices as the school searches for a new coach. Rector had not signed a national letter of intent with the school, only verbally committing.

Fellow Rutgers recruit Chris Griffin, a juco forward from Wabash Valley College (Ill.), reportedly has also decommitted, according to zagsblog.com.

"The coach got fired and not knowing who they're bringing in, I just wanted to cover my bases so I don't end up getting screwed over or whatever," Rector said in a phone interview Tuesday night. "They're still on my list. It's not a definite I won't go there but I re-opened my recruitment to see what's out there. If I find something better, I'll end up going there."

Rector, a three-star recruit, committed to Rutgers in January, choosing the Scarlet Knights over schools such as Arizona State, Massachusetts and Providence. When Rector committed, he talked highly of Rice, who was fired after videos showed him hitting players with basketballs, shoving players and using gay slurs. While the video surprised Rector, he still had positive things to say about Rice.

Rutgers assistant Jimmy Martelli and athletic director Tim Pernetti also both resigned following Rice's firing.

"I know (Rice) was an intense coach. I knew that while he was recruiting me. Obviously, the video speaks for itself," Rector said. "He's not a bad person; I like him. If he hadn't been fired, I still would have went there. But what happened, happened."

Rector said Rutgers had not reached out to him after Rice's firing and he isn't worried about how his recruitment will play out despite it being late in the process.

The guard doesn't have a list of schools he's considering, as he's going to see what schools contact him, and South Kent coach Kelvin Jefferson told him that Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Missouri, Providence and Connecticut already have reached out. While schools that recruited Rector in the past are likely interested, they may already have used up their scholarships for 2013-14.

Rector played at St. Raymond in the Bronx before heading to South Kent this season, a school with a history of improving players. Rector, who won a CHSAA Intersectional title with St. Raymond, believes the prep year at South Kent has improved his game as he prepares for college.

"In the long run, I think I'll be OK," Rector said. "I decommitted today and am already hearing from four to five schools."

Rutgers had three players committed to its 2013 class, with Broward Community College (Fla.) forward Craig Brown joining Rector and Griffin. If Rector and Griffin land elsewhere, the Scarlet Knights will have to scramble to bolster their class.

There had been some optimism about Rutgers basketball as it transitions to the Big Ten, as the team was set to return nearly all of its best players. But Rice's firing and a rash of decommittments and pending transfers have left the program in a vulnerable spot moving forward.

Sophomore guard Jerome Seagears, who has played more than 25 minutes each of his first two years, will transfer, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

The paper also has reported that seldom-used junior guard/forward Vincent Garrett is leaving, as is sophomore forward Malick Kone.

Rutgers went 15-16 and finished 12th in the Big East this year, Rice's third season at the school. Rutgers will play in the American Athletic Conference next year before heading to the Big Ten.