Cliff Omoruyi on his decision to return to Rutgers: ‘I want to lead the team’

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Cliff Omoruyi is eyeing a leadership role with Rutgers men’s basketball ahead of what will certainly be a season of change for the Scarlet Knights.

Given the losses this offseason, including Geo Baker, Ron Harper Jr., Caleb McConnell and Jaden Jones all declaring that they will turn professional, there was some speculation that Omoruyi might follow suit. He is the prototype of the new breed of big men given his athleticism, ability to protect the rim and his tremendous inside presence.

But Omoruyi decided to return for at least one more season at Rutgers (a story first broken by RutgersWire in March). On Thursday, Andy Katz of the Big Ten Network had an interview with the Rutgers center where that decision to return came up.

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In fact, the first question from Katz was about why Omoruyi decided to return for what will be his junior season at Rutgers.

“One of the reasons- I just want to be a leader, I want to lead the team,” Omoruyi said in the Big Ten Network interview.

“Another reason is that I want to get my degree in two years. I want to get it done.”

This offseason, Omoruyi said he is focused on working on his shooting angles as well as his spacing on the court. In addition, he is doing agility work to continue to build on his already notorious level of athleticism.

“I just do the extra work like stretching, working on my agility with my athletic trainer, getting my body right,” Omoruyi told Katz about his offseason work.

This past season, Rutgers men’s basketball made consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since 1976. The growth of Omoruyi into one of the best centers in the Big Ten certainly was crucial for the Scarlet Knights.

As a sophomore, Omoruyi averaged 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.