Roberts wasting no effort on recruiting trail
LAS VEGAS -- Coaches complaining about driving all over Las Vegas to cover three different tournaments had nothing on new St. John's coach Norm Roberts.
But Roberts was walking through the D terminal at 11 p.m. Saturday, clad in a St. John's baseball cap and red sweatshirt (it's cool on the planes) after his second trip to Las Vegas in three days.
We can't document if Roberts was the only one who made two cross-country trips to Las Vegas, but he must be among a handful of coaches to be so dedicated.
Roberts was arriving from Orlando where he was recruiting at the national AAU tournament. He had been in Las Vegas for a midnight event late Wednesday night, or early Thursday morning, depending on how you want to define the day. The midnight event, organized by Dinos Trigonis of Los Angeles, was actually the fourth event in Las Vegas, but it was a one-time event and didn't carry over into the rest of the weekend like the Nike, Adidas and Reebok tournaments.
Roberts planned on being in Las Vegas through Sunday before heading to Los Angeles this week to continue recruiting players from Reebok and Adidas-sponsored teams.
Roberts looked tired, like anyone would at this time, and said he was plowing ahead in his quest to get his top picks committed. The Red Storm have good vibes under Roberts' leadership, but they are still waiting to lure their top choices. Roberts, who was an assistant at Kansas before getting the St. John's job in the spring, has always been known as a tireless worker. But he was determined to be as vigilant as possible this month.
Evaluating talent in Las Vegas was a chore for most coaches who had to be selective and willing to miss a half of a game as they tried to cover the entire city and three different tournaments. But most agreed this format was still better than trying to fly to multiple locations to see various players. Most coaches were still going to Orlando for the AAU tournament, but none that we could find actually were going back and forth to Las Vegas. The Nike tournament ended Sunday. Adidas and Reebok ended Monday.
Having literally thousands of players and hundreds of coaches in one city in one weekend provided plenty of chatter among the coaches and any NBA personnel doing scouting.
Here is a small sampling:
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.
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