Watch out. Rutgers is trying to build a sleeping giant by adding one of the giants in the class of 2009. Big man Greg Echenique gave a nod to the Big East school on Monday.
The 6-foot-8, 263-pound center from New Jersey powerhouse St. Benedict's gave a nod to Fred Hill and staff after looking at several other high-major schools.
Rutgers beat out the likes of Pittsburgh, Duke, Miami, Notre Dame, Florida, Villanova, Syracuse and Memphis.
"Since I came to this country with my parents, I felt a connection with the coaching staff," Echenique said. "They were the first school to offer me a scholarship and they have been there watching me develop throughout my high school career. Coach Hill and [assistant coach Jim] Carr have always been there for me. They are people that I have been able to develop a great relationship with and depend on as mentors.
"A big part of my decision was the belief that coach Hill and his staff have in me to help them take the program to a higher level. The future is bright at Rutgers and I look forward to being a member of the school community."
Echenique averaged 11.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.3 blocks a game for St. Benedict's (24-1) and helped the Grey Bees claim several national rankings this season. Defensively, his size helped lock down some of the top big men in the nation this season.
Echenique said he felt at home at Rutgers.
"By going to St. Benedict's Prep, New Jersey has become a second home to me. I want other players to believe in Rutgers the way I do," he said.
"What has always impressed me about the RAC and the Rutgers fans, is that they love the basketball team and are supportive whatever the circumstances. Coach Hill and staff have convinced me and my family that the balance of academics and athletics is a perfect fit for me. In the long run, what convinced me most was not the fact that they play in the Big East or the facilities, but it was the people who make up the program."
Echenique, a four-star prospect, joins upstate New York wing Dane Miller, also a four-star prospect, in the 2009 recruiting class for Rutgers.