Rucker Impressed With Cajuns

Rucker Impressed With Cajuns

Last week a versatile junior college forward from Florida made an official visit to see Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns. Cajun RedZone recently caught up with the prospect to get his thoughts after the trip.

Northwest Florida State College forward Rod Rucker traveled west last weekend for an official visit with Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns.

Rucker, rated the nation's No. 10 junior college Class of 2012 prospect by JucoJunction.com, is still uncommitted but had nice things to say about his trip to Louisiana.

"I liked everything about it," Rucker said Monday night. "The school was nice. I toured the school, the coaches showed me around campus and I hung out with the players. I had a fun time. I liked what they have to offer, but I've got a couple more visits to make then I'm going to make a decision."

Rucker said he would not sign when the NCAA's spring signing period starts on Wednesday. He intends to visit Western Kentucky this weekend, UAB the following week and possibly another school if one can make a late impression after that. Back in February, he visited Loyola University-Chicago.

"I'm just trying to get a feel for other places," said Rucker, who plans to sign before the end of the signing period on May 16. "My next move has got to be a good one because I've only got two more years (in college). I don't want to make a quick decision. I want to be 100 percent sure."

When it comes to picking his next school, Rucker said a couple of factors would come into play. Off the court, he wants to major in sports management or something in that respective field of study.

"I want to be at a place where I feel happy and play for a coaching staff who is loyal and truthful," Rucker said. "It needs to be a good college basketball program with good people."

As for the Cajuns, Rucker called coach Bob Marlin a "good guy" and a "good person" who he'd feel comfortable talking with about issues outside of basketball.

Rucker added that the Cajuns like the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder's versatility as a combo forward. He earned first-team All-Panhandle Conference honors this season after averaging 12.5 points and 9.9 rebounds per game for a 32-2 team that was ranked second nationally and the runner-up in the NJCAA Division I national tournament. The Georgia native had 13 double-doubles, shot 51 percent from the floor and made the NJCAA all-tournament team after posting 16 points and 14 rebounds in a loss to South Plains College in the national title game.

That was after Rucker was a first-team all-conference point guard as a freshman – he averaged 10.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists – and participated last summer in Jerry Mullen's invitation-only Top 100 JUCO Camp in St. Louis.

"They're looking at me as a combo guy who can play the 3 and the 4," Rucker said of the Cajuns. "I'd like that more than playing just one position. I can play both positions. I'll play wherever they'd put me."

Northwest Florida State College coach Steve Forbes has described Rucker as a "tough dude" and "great all-around player who can do a lot of things."

Rucker pointed to an intangible as his best skill.

"First, I look at myself as a leader," Rucker said. "I try to keep the team together and be the glue guy. I rebound well and play strong defense. I can score, but I want to play within my game. I can do a lot of good things, but I don't try to do too much."

Forbes spoke with Rucker several times on the phone since his visit to Louisiana. He echoed what Rucker had to say about the trip.

"Rod had a great visit," Forbes said. "He loved coach Marlin, the staff, the weather, the town, the food, really everything about it. He still has visits to Western Kentucky and UAB, and I think he'll come to some kind of a decision after that."

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