Norm Roberts: A Man Of Integrity

Reporter Mike Sullivan gives us his thoughts about St. John's head coach Norm Roberts ...

It was an overcast day in Florida last July. The pressing heat pushed sweat off this highly regarded Big East assistant coach's forehead. The issue of the day while waiting for the next AAU game to begin was the status of St. John's basketball.

For so many years, Lou Carnesecca had spoiled Redmen fans with 20 plus win seasons and an annual trip to the NCAA tournament. There were those, including myself, that thought we were smarter than Looie when he wouldn't change his defenses or scream at his kids for not running up the court.

What Carnesecca proved was we knew very little about the game of basketball back then and had no appreciation of the skills he possessed as a head basketball coach. Years later, we understand how difficult it is to rattle off those 20 win seasons and are amazed at his incredible record.

It is a difficult task to produce this same type of history as Norm Roberts, the current coach of the Red Storm, is finding. And the Big East assistant coach agreed on this summer afternoon.

"Norm will get it done," he said last July inside the Disney World complex. "He will. I know he will. But it will take time. People have to be patient."

I looked at him and gave him several reasons why it is a tough task to achieve success in New York City so quickly. His reply: "Norm Roberts is a man of integrity. He is a man who sincerely cares about the players and what they will achieve not only on the court but after they finish their careers at St. John's. That has to count for something."

I already knew this about Norm Roberts. What was refreshing and encouraging was hearing it from "a so-called rival on the recruiting trails."

Yes, winning matters. But it will be even more glorious when Norm Roberts achieves this because you know he did it the right way.

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