If the rumors are true Pitt assistant coach Barry “Slice” Rohrssen is leaving the program to become an assistant coach at Kentucky under head coach John Calipari.
The news was first reported by SNY’s Adam Zagoria on twitter yesterday morning:
Barry "Slice" Rohrssen to Kentucky is "done," source tells @SNYtv
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 14, 2014
Rohrssen has been instrumental in Pitt’s success over the years. He is responsible for opening up the recruitment pipeline to New York for the Panthers.
He has been responsible for luring in Pitt stars such as Mark McCaroll, Carl Krauser, Chris Taft, Ronald Ramon, Keith Benjamin and Levance Fields. None of them amounted to much as far as NBA talent but all were instrumental in Pitt’s numerous Sweet 16 runs in the 2000’s. A time period that seems like it was ages ago given the program’s recent tournament results.
Perhaps the biggest name of them all that has yet to arrive at the program is Mustapha Heron, a 6’4 small forward from the class of 2016. Heron is alright ranked by ESPN as a five-star recruit in the top-20 for his class.
The high school sophomore committed to Pitt in January because of Rohrssen’s connection to his family. Heron’s father and Rohrssen played professional basketball together in Europe and have remained friends since. Heron was quick to commit to the program.
It will interesting to see if Heron follows Rohrssen, stays committed to the Panthers or if he goes a completely new direction altogether.
Numerous Panthers fans took to twitter to suggest that Rohrssen was not recruiting any NBA talent to the program and will not be a hard void to fill.
Andrew Filliponi, a radio personalty on 93.7 the fan, a Pittsburgh sports radio station made his feelings clear throughout the day:
Chris Taft, Ronald Ramon and Levance FIelds. How will Pitt ever replace Barry??? He got all kinds of NBA talents.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) April 14, 2014
Clearly, Filliponi was being sarcastic as he previously tweeted that Rohrssen meant little to the program.
I agree with him, none of the above players are in the NBA, however fairly few Pitt players make it in the NBA. The only current Panthers in the NBA are Aaron Gray and DeJuan Blair with Chris Taft and Sam Young each playing a few seasons in the league.
Levance Fields, Carl Krauser and Ronald Ramon each played integral roles in the Panthers success over the years. To suggest that the program would somehow be in a better position without them is absolutely ludicrous. The program has flourished due to successful teams that were captained by the three players.
Barry Rohrssen is one of the best assistant coaches in college basketball, it is no wonder that he is electing to go to a more prestigious program. Face it, Pitt is a top-25 program, but it does not compare to Kentucky, not even close. As long as Calipari is at the helm the Wildcats will continue to pull in top-3 recruitment classes and prove to be a perennial-powerhouse.
Do not blame Rohrssen for leaving, but do not think that he will be easily replaced. It is simple, he will be missed by the program, especially if the Panthers lose out on Mustapha Heron.