Manhattan College

Barry Rohrssen returns to Pittsburgh coaching staff

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While much has been made over the years about the work done by Ben Howland and then Jamie Dixon in the rebuilding of the Pittsburgh basketball program, there was another key figure in the Panthers’ transition from Big East doormat to perennial league title contender.

That would be former assistant coach Barry “Slice” Rohrssen, whose ability to recruit New York City resulted in a pipeline that played a major role in Pittsburgh’s success.

Rohrssen left the program in 2006 to become the head coach at Manhattan and spent this past season as an assistant coach for the Idaho Stampede of the NBA D-League.

According to multiple reports, “Slice” is on his way back to the Steel City to Coach Dixon’s staff as an assistant coach. Pittsburgh formally announced Rohrssen’s return in a press release Friday afternoon.

With the departure of multiple veterans and Steven Adams’ decision to enter the NBA Draft (there have also been reports that both J.J. Moore and Cameron Wright are considering a transfer), this summer sets up to be an important one on the recruiting trail as the Panthers make their move to the ACC.

Bringing back Rohrssen means the return of program’s best recruiter and also strengthens Pittsburgh’s connection to the New York metropolitan area.

Rohrrsen was the main recruiter on former Pitt players such as Chris Taft, Levance Fields, Ronald Ramon and Keith Benjamin. He also is a quality big man coach who oversaw the development of Aaron Gray, who went from little known recruit to NBA draft pick in four years, with Rohrssen overseeing his early development.

Here is the bottom line: Dixon has holes to fill on a roster that is in serious need of upgrading. Rohrssen can help in that endeavor in a crucial time for the program as it transitions to the ACC.

The Panthers currently have three signees in their 2013 class: point guard Josh Newkirk, small forward Jamel Artis and power forward Mike Young.

“It’s extremely exciting to be returning to Pitt,” Rohrssen said in the release. “We obviously want to continue and build upon the great tradition established at Pitt. The program’s success speaks for itself. It’s been an honor and I’m proud of my association with the University of Pittsburgh.

“I love the city of Pittsburgh and feel that it’s home. It’s a great place to be.”

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.