The Scarlet Knights will be without their best player, at least for the start of the season, as JR Inman was recently suspended for violating team policies. Inman returns to the program for his final season having shown plenty of potential during his time in Piscataway, but has never really put it all together. His numbers last season were nearly identical to the year before, with a slight increase in his field goal percentage, but a big drop off in his free throw shooting.
Physically, Inman has a great build for the modern power forward. He is a little undersized at 69, but has a solid 220 pound frame with a long wingspan. Inman moves very well both in the open floor and the half court set, possessing an above average first step and quickness. While the explosiveness that he shows around the rim is encouraging, his strength is not. Inman severely needs to become stronger in his upper body as he currently doesnt do well with much contact at all, whether it be in the lane or out on the perimeter.
While capable of getting his points in a lot of ways, Inmans game is built around spotting up on the perimeter. He likes to put the ball on the floor from this position, showing good ball-handling skills for a frontcourt player (although he prefers going to his right hand), and the ability to take slower defenders off the dribble. The issue for Inman with this part of his game is his shot. His form is awkward, with a long release from almost behind his head that uses a lot of unnecessary movement. Often times he will fade on his shot attempts as well when pressured, despite the fact that he can elevate over most defenders.
While he showed some promise as a freshman from this range, his numbers have gotten progressively worse with time, due in large part to poor shot selection. He shot just 42% from the field last season, which is pretty awful considering that he is a 6-9 power forward. He also made just 61% of his free throws, and turned the ball over more than four times for every assist he garnered.
A good portion of Inmans looks come inside either on the block or when he moves off the ball. His post up game is far from perfect; again, since he lacks great upper body strength, he often cant get great position or body up defenders. There are flashes of good footwork from Inman, but generally he tends to go with a turnaround jumper or a baby hook. Neither of these shots falls consistently for him as his touch around the rim waivers. Inman has shown some ability with a nice step through move when he keeps his pivot; from here he is usually capable of elevating for an easy dunk.
What is most surprising about Inman is that he doesnt go to his mid-range game more often considering how much success he has with it. He appears to be better shooter off the dribble than he is when stationary, able to pull up rather smoothly, albeit he still has the awkward release. Inmans good first step usually allows him to create some space for himself to get his shot off against bigger defenders.
Defensively, Inman needs to be able to step out and cover smaller, quicker players on a more consistent basis. He has the lateral quickness to cover most big men, but has issues when facing quicker perimeter players, particularly when he tries to hedge out on screens. He does an average job on the glass, pulling down just over seven boards per game, but getting stronger would allow him to box out more effectively against other post players. The added strength would help him fight through screens better as well, something he struggles with when stepping away from the paint. Inmans rate of collecting blocks, steals and fouls has decreased dramatically every season thus farwhich is not a good indication regarding his hustle.
All in all, Inman is not likely to end up in an NBA uniform. He has all the ability and talent to be very good player in the Big East, but he seems to be lacking a significant amount of direction with his game. His recent suspension for off-court issues doesnt leave a lot of room for optimism either. A lot of the time it appears as though he thinks of himself as more of a three than a four, when clearly his mid-range game has the most potential of any weapon in his arsenal. He also needs to do a better job of protecting the basketball, as he committed turnovers on 20% of his touches last season. Still, there is reason to believe that with a solid final season with Rutgers and some better decision making on and off the court, Inman can make a decent living overseas.