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Report: St. John’s, associate head coach Rohrssen to part ways

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When St. John’s hired one its’ all-time greats in Chris Mullin to run the program last spring, one of the first hires to the staff was Barry “Slice” Rohrssen as associate head coach. With his past experiences as both an assistant and head coach, Rohrssen’s abilities as a recruiter and his connections in the New York metropolitan area made him a key hire for Mullin.

Tuesday night it was reported by that the two parties have decided to part ways, leaving Mullin with a vacancy to fill on his coaching staff. Rohrssen’s departure leaves Greg St. Jean and Matt Abdelmassih as the current assistants on Mullin’s staff, with the latter also being regarded as a good recruiter.

But how valuable was the Brooklyn native considered to be upon his hiring at St. John’s? His deal ran for six years, with Mullin’s deal being a five-year contract. Also to be considered in this: the move comes one day before the start of the program’s elite camp.

Rohrssen played a key role on Ben Howland’s and Jamie Dixon’s staffs at Pittsburgh, as his connections in the New York metropolitan area helped the program bring in recruits such as Brandin Knight (from nearby New Jersey), Carl Krauser, Chris Taft and Levance Fields. That success led to the Panthers becoming a power in the Big East during the early to mid-2000’s.

Rohrssen had two stints at Pittsburgh, with the second being followed by a season with John Calipari at Kentucky (2014-15).

A key for St. John’s on the recruiting trail has been establishing themselves as a player in New York City after not enjoying much success recruiting area prospects during Steve Lavin’s tenure as head coach. In the 2016 class the Red Storm managed to reel in two local players expected to have a major impact next season in junior college transfer Bashir Ahmed and freshman guard Shamorie Ponds.

St. John’s hires new associate head coach from Kentucky staff and lands 2015 center commitment


St. John’s continued to add pieces to its future on Monday as the school announced the addition of associate head coach Barry Rohrssen from the Kentucky staff. The Big East school also landed a commitment from Class of 2015 center Yankuba Sima.

Since the hiring of new head coach Chris Mullin, the Red Storm have made two strong local assistant coaching hires in Rohrssen, the former head coach at Manhattan and a Brooklyn native, and former Iowa State assistant Matt Abdelmassiah, a St. John’s graduate.

“Barry is a great addition to our staff,” Mullin said in the official release. “His experience in all facets of college basketball is going to be important for our program. He was a head coach and has participated in every role in the development of programs, so his guidance will be vital to our success.”

The Red Storm also landed a commitment from 6-foot-10 Class of 2015 center Yankuba Sima on Monday, as he announced his decision on Twitter. The three-star Sima also had scholarship offers from Baylor and Maryland and was one of the better available big men in the 2015 class.

St. John’s has also recently added Tennessee transfer Tariq Owens while they also continue to pursue five-star McDonald’s All-American big man Cheick Diallo.

Mullin hiring Rohrssen and Abdelmassiah puts them in tremendous position for Diallo. Both assistants were lead recruiters for Diallo at Kentucky and Iowa State, respectively, and both can now focus their efforts to bring the active defensive presence to the Big East.

‘Smoke’ Williamson replaces ‘Slice’ Rohrssen on Pitt coaching staff

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The domino effect from Orlando Antigua’s move to South Florida has continued, six weeks after the longtime Kentucky coach was hired to replace Stan Heath.

On Monday night, Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon hired UMass assistant Marlon ‘Smoke’ Williamson to replace Barry ‘Slice’ Rohrssen on his staff, according to a report from Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Rohrssen was introduced as the newest Kentucky assistant on May 1. Antigua left Lexington and accepted the job at South Florida on March 31.

Williamson spent two years at UMass under head coach Derek Kellogg. Before his stint in Amherst, Williamson worked for the Detroit-based grassroots program, The Family.

Pittsburgh finished 26-10 (11-7 ACC) and reached the Round of 32 in the NCAA tournament.

Kentucky announces hiring of assistant coach Barry Rohrssen

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With Oliver Antigua leaving to take over the South Florida program, Kentucky head coach John Calipari had a vacancy to fill on his coaching staff. And on Thursday the school announced the news that surprised few, with Barry Rohrssen making the move from Pittsburgh to Lexington.

Lauded for his ability on the recruiting trail, Rohrssen joins John Robic and Kenny Panye on Calipari’s coaching staff. And in making the move to Kentucky, Rohrssen reconnects with a head coach he’s known for more than three decades.

“Barry has been part of my coaching family for the past 30-some years. We roomed together at Five Star as counselors, still in college, and have followed each others’ careers on the court closely,” Calipari said in the school release. “I’m thrilled with what he brings to our staff, both on court and off, in terms of coaching, recruiting and mentoring these young men.”

Rohrssen has nearly two decades of coaching experience at the college level, including two separate stints as an assistant at Pittsburgh and five seasons as the head coach at Manhattan. And while the news of Rohrssen’s hire was just announced, he was with his new boss in Sacramento last weekend watching Nike EYBL games during the lone open period of the spring.

With Rohrssen making the move from Pittsburgh to Kentucky, some have wondered what the impact will be on five-star 2016 guard Mustapha Heron. Heron is verbally committed to attend Pittsburgh, and the relationship between his family and Rohrssen did help the Panthers. However in a story written by Mike White of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette a couple days ago, Heron stated that he remains committed to Pittsburgh.

The addition of Rohrssen fills out the Kentucky coaching staff, but there’s still the question of whether or not NBA franchises will look to speak with Calipari despite his statement that he has no interest in leaving the program. With Calipari making that statement, the Wildcats can seemingly move into their offseason preparations with an eye towards their summer trip to a location that has yet to be announced.

Pitt assistant Barry Rohrssen leaving program, Kentucky expected to be his next stop

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A year after returning to his former position, Pitt assistant coach Barry “Slice” Rohrssen is leaving the Panthers and will reportedly take the vacant assistant coaching position at Kentucky.

The loss of Rohrssen was announced by the Pittsburgh athletic department in a release while ESPN‘s Jeff Goodman is reporting that Rohrssen is likely heading to Kentucky.

“Everyone at Pitt wishes Barry the very best in his future pursuits,” Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said in the release.

A major recruiter with strong ties to New York, Rohrssen returned to Pitt for the 2013-14 season after a head coaching stint at Manhattan from 2006-2011 and a stop as an assistant coach for the Idaho Stampede in the NBA D-League.

Rohrssen was the main recruiter on former Pitt players such as Keith Benjamin, Levance Fields, Ronald Ramon and Chris Taft and he’s also a reputable big man coach who worked extensively with former Panther center Aaron Gray.

With Rohrssen leaving, Pitt will likely look for an experienced recruiter, but a former player has made it publicly known that he wants a shot at the job. Former Panther guard Aston Gibbs took to Twitter to announce his desire to be a candidate for Rohrssen’s former position:

It’s hard to say if Gibbs is a viable candidate — given his lack of coaching experience — but replacing Rohrssen will be tough for Pitt.