As of now, there is no official release on former Pitt assistant Barry Rohrssen joining John Calipari’s staff. But note I said FORMER Pitt assistant as Pitt released a statement today announcing Rohrssen was leaving. Now unless Barry is the surprise new coach at the University of Tennessee, we can play connect the dots and assume that a UK announcement is inevitable.
But what does Rohrrsen bring to UK? Let’s take a look at what a Pitt blog and what they think they are losing when Rohrrsen left the Panthers.
There’s good reason for the borderline panic – Rohrssen is known as a heck of a recruiter. He’s been good (real good) for Pitt and is one of the primary reasons the Panthers have been an NCAA Tournament team every season. Ben Howland and Jamie Dixon have been the architects, but guys like Rohrssen and other assistants, such as Tom Herrion, have been the builders – finding the players those coaches have needed to make their system work.
For the immediate future, the most angst is regarding 2016 guard Mustapha Heron – a five-star player who is regarded as one of the best in the entire class and committed to Pitt earlier. As I wrote at the time, Rohrssen’s ties to Heron and his family were pretty strong.
With so much hype surrounding Rohrssen and the potential move, I wanted to dig a little bit into the Panthers’ recruiting classes with and without him to establish some kind of idea of his value to the program. We know he’s important, but what a lot of fans are having difficulty with is finding out just how valuable he is.
Personally, my immediate reaction was that this is a huge blow to Pitt. But after looking a little closer at the classes in the Rohrssen/non-Rohrssen era, I’ve eased up a bit. That’s not to say that his loss isn’t a big one – only that Pitt’s classes haven’t exactly been lost without him on board.
Granted, if you read the whole article, they seem to think that Rohrssen is a big loss, but not a devastating one. This type of attitude is normal when someone leaves, but take a look at the praise heaped upon Rohrssen when he helped land Mustapha Heron back in January.
Another notable thing is that this is another Barry Rohrssen ‘get’. According to Scout, Rohrssen has strong ties to the family:
Pittsburgh prioritized Heron, a 2016 recruit, due to Barry “Slice” Rohrssen’s connection to the family.
“Barry and I played overseas together a very long time ago, before Mustapha was born,” Bryan Heron told Scout.com. “That’s how far the relationship goes back. Once he went back to Pitt, it made it very easy because of our history.”
Really, if you’re not openly rejoicing yet about Slice coming back to Pitt by this point, where have you been? Surely Rohrssen wasn’t the only factor here, but he appears to be primary one.
Make no mistake. Grabbing Slice was a great grab for Calipari and he will open up recruiting in New York for Cal as well.