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.
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.
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.