Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Barry “Slice” Rohrssen to Join Chris Mullin’s Staff at St. John’s
NEW YORK — Kentucky’s Barry “Slice” Rohrssen is expected to join Chris Mullin’s staff at St. John’s and should be introduced this week, sources told SNY.tv.
“Yes, it’s done,” one source told SNY.tv. “He’s in New York now. Will be announced this week.”
Rohrssen, a Brooklyn native who still keeps an apartment in Riverdale, is close friends with Mullin, who recently returned to his alma mater to take over the coaching reins.
Rohrssen will join former Iowa State assistant Matt Abdelmassih on Mullin’s staff. Mullin, Abdelmassih and Terence Mullin, the coach’s brother, were out on the road recruiting this weekend.
Wings Academy coach Billy Turnage, whose team won the New York City PSAL and New York State Federation titles, said it’s a great hire for St. John’s.
“I think he will be a great addition to the staff at St. John’s,” Turnage told SNY.tv. “He’s shown the ability to recruit New York City at all of his other schools and I assume that those same relationships will help him do the same at St. John’s.”
Dave Boff, head coach of Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, the reigning New Jersey Tournament of Champions winner, agreed.
“I think Slice will be a great addition to Coach Mullin’s staff,” he told SNY.tv. “He’s a New York guy and has great relationships in New York and New Jersey.”
Evan Daniels of Scout.com also reported the news, adding that Tony Barbee will move up from special assistant at Kentucky to assistant coach.
Rohrssen joked at the Final Four that he prefers the pizza in New York to Lexington, Ky., but who wouldn’t?
“You know what, I’m not sure if anyone other than the people who own pizzerias in Lexington dispute me on this, or even [would] be upset if I told you Yew York City,” Rohrssen said.
“Some of the favorite spots would be Totonno’s out in Coney Island, Patsy Grimaldi underneath the Brooklyn Bridge in my home borough. Grimaldi’s is very good. Obviously you got Lombardi’s down on Spring Street, which is the very first pizzeria in the history of the United States of America.”
Rohrssen reportedly earns a base salary of $375,000 at Kentucky plus bonuses. His contract reportedly runs through June 2016 and he must notify Kentucky coach John Calipari if he intends to leave for another job.
St. John’s is reportedly paying Mullin more than $2 million annually.
Rohrssen has paid huge dividends as a recruiter from Pittsburgh to Kentucky.
As we wrote earlier this year, Rohrssen is widely respected by high school and AAU coaches and was instrumental in helping Kentucky land Roselle (N.J.) Catholic point guard Isaiah Briscoe, who picked Kentucky over St. John’s in November.
“I think Slice did a nice job [with Briscoe],”Boff told SNY.tv in the fall. “He was definitely in our gym a couple of different times after Kentucky really started to come after Isaiah hard so I thought he did a job.”
He added: “The thing that Slice did was, he made sure that he was a presence at the school. Other coaches were also, but I thought that he made sure that he was a presence at the school toward the end of the school day, meeting with some Roselle Catholic people. Talked to the President of the school, the principal, it seemed like he made an effort to talk with them about Isaiah off the court and stuff like that.”
Of course, recruiting to Kentucky is one thing, and recruiting to St. John’s would be something altogether different.
Kentucky’s history and tradition speak for itself and makes it easier to land a parade of McDonald’s All-Americans, while St. John’s is attempting to return to its former glory by reaching back to the Mullin Era.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.