Rutgers Men’s Basketball

PISCATAWAY, NJ - JANUARY 04: Eli Brooks #55 of the Michigan Wolverines attempts a shot as Caleb McConnell #22 and Clifford Omoruyi #11 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights defend during the first half of a game at Jersey Mike's Arena on January 4, 2022 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Rutgers basketball got some big news before the weekend when senior guard Caleb McConnell announced that he would return for the 2022-23 season, his final year of eligibility.

“I’m excited to return for one last ride with the Scarlet Knights in 2022-23,” McConnell told Scarlet Knights.com. “I learned a lot going through the process of training for the 2022 NBA Draft. I want to give a shout out to my coaches, my teammates, and my family for helping me make this decision about my future. We’ve built so much over the last four seasons at RU, and I can’t wait to see what we achieve next year. I can’t wait to see RU Nation at Jersey Mike’s Arena!”

McConnell, who graduated with a degree in African Studies, had previously declared for the NBA Draft, but had a change of heart due to the fact he had a year of eligibility remaining due to COVID-19 protocols.

This past season McConnell was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. The last Rutgers player to win Defensive Player of the Year was Hamady Ndiaye in 2009-10 when Rutgers was still in the Big East.

“McConnell had a stellar season on defense leading the conference with 70 steals and 2.19 steals-per-game. His 70 steals were good for 5th in a single season in RU history. His steals total has him tied for ninth in the nation. McConnell also led the Big Ten Conference with 43 steals and 2.15 steals-per-game in conference play,” ScarletKnights.com.

Jaden Jones and Ron Harper Jr. both remain committed to the NBA Draft this month.

Head Coach Steve Pikiell said about McConnell’s retur, “Caleb has been the ultimate ambassador for our program on and off the court. He is an unbelievable person and has been one of our best all-around players on both sides of the floor. The 2022 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and one of the best players in the conference is back. I’m excited to see what he will achieve for the Scarlet Knights in 2022-23.”