Back in April, it looked as though Florida A&M transfer Jermaine Ruttley was off to Louisiana Tech. The junior guard had committed to play for the bulldogs in 2015-16, but then things got interesting.
Mike White left the team, opting for the head coaching position down in Gainesville, FL with the Gators, and their top assistant went with him. With the coaching change, Ruttley de-committed from Louisiana Tech, and reopened his recruitment.
While he entertained possibilities like Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Tennessee, and Purdue, among others, he went off the map with his decision.
As first reported by ESPN.com on Friday, Ruttley is taking his services to the Sun Belt conference, where he will join the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans for the 2015-16 season.
Ruttley, a 6’3”, 200-pound guard out of Radcliff, KY, was the Rattlers’ leading scorer in 2014-15. He averaged 17.4 points per contest to go along with 6.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game for the 2-27 Rattlers.
The 2014-15 season was Ruttley’s first at the NCAA level. He previously played at Kaskaskia Community College before making the jump to Division I hoops.
There are some issues around academic progress issues around Ruttley, but the Trojans and the NCAA will need to work together to get Ruttley on the floor in 2015-16.
The addition of Ruttley for the Trojans is a big one, as they have their own first-year head coach in Chris Beard. The Trojans, who are coming off a 13 – 18 season, are losing both James White and James Reid to transfer. Both White and Red were key pieces for the Trojans.
However, they return their top two scorers from a season ago. Leading scorer Josh Hagins (12.1 ppg) and Robert Woods (11.9 ppg) are back for their senior seasons, and the addition of Ruttley adds another talented offensive weapon to their arsenal. With these three potentially leading the way, the Trojans have the pieces in place to make some noise in the Sun Belt this year.