DES MOINES, Iowa — Norm Roberts believes the man who has his old job will do just fine with it. The former St. John’s coach, who is here as an assistant for Kansas, sees a solid future for Chris Mullin.
“Those people there were very good to me,” he said, referring to the campus in Queens. “Now, there’s not a lot of people there who were there when I was there . . . ”
The Red Storm is on its second coach since it fired Roberts after the 2010 season. His replacement, Steve Lavin, brought the team to the NCAA Tournament in 2011 with Roberts’ recruits and again last year, but he was fired last spring and succeeded by Mullin.
“Chris will do a great job,” Roberts said. “It takes time. People sometimes aren’t patient, but with Chris, I think they will be. And they’re going to be good in time.”
Roberts is helping head coach Bill Self and their players prepare for Saturday’s game against Connecticut, a familiar opponent for him. “Battles, battles. The last time we played against them in the Big East, we played really well against them but other times, going up to Gampel [Pavilion], that was a hard place to play,” he said. “They always play hard, they always play tough.”
A 73-51 rout of Connecticut in the 2010 Big East Tournament was perhaps the high point of Roberts’ time at St. John’s, but it was not enough to save his position.