By Jon Rothstein
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It doesn’t take much to please Barry Rohrssen.
Leave him two tickets for a Broadway show and he’ll never forget.
Take him to one of New York’s finest pizzerias and Rohrssen, who many call “Slice” in basketball circles will make sure to reciprocate within a matter of days.
The man is grateful of everything he has in his life — especially recently.
Rohrssen, who had spent 18 years in college basketball before taking a sabbatical last season was recently hired by the Portland Trail Blazers and will be an assistant coach for the NBDL’s Idaho Stampede.
“There’s a great sense of pride to be hired by an NBA team,” said Rohrssen, who took part in the Trail Blazers training camp last week in Portland. “The commitment to professional excellence in the entire Trail Blazers organization has been tremendous”.
Rohrssen is no stranger to being around NBA level talent. As an assistant at UNLV and Pitt, he worked regularly with both Shawn Marion and Aaron Gray, two players who are still currently in the NBA today.
While he built a strong reputation with the Panthers as an elite recruiter, Rohrssen was astute at identifying talent. That combined with his strong powers of assimilation immediately made him a target of newly minted Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey.
“Barry has an outstanding coaching resume and a unique ability to build relationships and connect with players,” Olshey said. “His experience at the college level and his passion for the game make him a significant addition to both the Portland Trail Blazers and the Idaho Stampede“.
Rohrssen isn’t only excited for this new opportunity — he’s refreshed.
After spending five years as the head coach of Manhattan, the sabbatical Rohrssen took last season allowed him to see the game from a new perspective as he traveled the country visiting different NBA franchises as well as college programs.
“Getting to visit with different coaches and programs across the country was something every coach should do and I’m thrilled that I did it,” Rohrssen said. “Now though is the right time to take this opportunity with the Trail Blazers and put all my energies into being back on the court. It would be good to challenge myself and do something different in basketball at another level. This is that type of opportunity”.
Do you think Rohrssen has what it takes to rise in the NBA ranks? Let us know in the comment section below…