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St. John's basketball: New Heights for St. John's

Update on St. John's assistant coaches:

Both Dick "Hoops" Weiss and Adam Zagoria are reporting that Kimani Young, athletic director of the New Heights basketball program (programs and population served here), is likely to come on board with St. John's as an assistant coach in some capacity (graduate assistant, perhaps). Young has been coaching a number of top New York City prospects on his New Heights roster, and this move is being made with an eye towards fostering better recruiting relationships.

From Hoops on Hoops:

"I think Oz and I can add a lot to the program, but I don't think we are the final answer," Young said by phone last weekend. "I love Norm and have a lot of respect for the school. I think this is a great opportunity. But the basketball program and the school are bigger than both of us. I do think we can bring a lot to the program."

and from Zagsblog:

Reached by phone, Young could not officially comment on the hire, but he did say: "What I could bring just is positive relationships in the city. I can bring an energy, a youthful energy and a hunger. I just want to continue that in any way I can if it turns that that’s where I’m at."

According to Rivals ($ required), Young’s responsibilities will probably be in player development and local recruitment. Props to Coach Roberts and St. John's for looking to shore up their recruiting (with Oswald Cross as well to come, rumor has it). And props to St. John's for hiring a guy who had some trouble 10 years ago (cached article, thanks to the message boards for finding that one).

Of course, one starts to think, "what, you hire a strong recruiter after 4 years?" I thought that Fred Quartlebaum was supposed to be the recruiter (along with teaching the post players). It seems a little late in the coaching staff's regime for this kind of move. Though to be fair, the 2006 (Calhoun, Thomas, Kitchen, Wright) and 2007 (Burrell, Coker, Boothe, Horne, Cavataio, Kennedy, Evans) classes seemed solid. And those players are more talented than the stopgap players who suited up on Coach Roberts' first two squads, even if the ones who remain are young.

More importantly, these seem to be hires with an eye towards the future, and mean that Coach Roberts and the staff will likely be on the Red Storm campus for a while. Coach Roberts' seat is warm, but not as hot as some would seem to think; if he gets some blue-chip commitments and gets the team close to .500, he's probably going to coach the team for a while. Even if they can't score a lick.*

Once better New York talent is in the fold, the staff can look at taking some long looks at the Philly talent. The staff won't venture very far out of the tri-state area (they have found some players in Kennedy and Evans in PA), but hopefully the reputations of the new NYC coaches will help draw players in.

* I do think the team will defend better this year. Coach Roberts has some pride, and got his first two teams to defend the hoop like Milton defended his stapler. With Avery Patterson and Larry Wright leaving the team because of their perceived defensive faults, I can't see anyone getting playing time who isn't dedicated to defense.