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Originally published April 9, 2012 at 12:14p.m., updated April 10, 2012 at 12:14a.m.

Norm Roberts to join Kansas coaching staff

Norm Roberts, former head coach at St. John's and assistant coach at KU visits with Danny Manning at Bill Self's Basketball Camp in June. Roberts shared some X’s and O’s insight with several hundred high school, junior-college and small-college coaches immediately following KU’s two-hour basketball practice.

Norm Roberts, former head coach at St. John's and assistant coach at KU visits with Danny Manning at Bill Self's Basketball Camp in June. Roberts shared some X’s and O’s insight with several hundred high school, junior-college and small-college coaches immediately following KU’s two-hour basketball practice.

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Norm Roberts, who spent one season next to his buddy, Bill Self, on Kansas University’s basketball bench, is back for a second stint in Lawrence.

Roberts, who left KU to run his own program at St. John’s University after the 2003-04 season and worked there six years, on Monday was named Danny Manning’s replacement as assistant coach at KU.

“This is a great opportunity. I loved my time at Kansas. I always thought my time there was too short,” Roberts, assistant coach at the Florida during the 2011-12 season, said in a phone interview. “I was only there one year, but I loved KU, loved Lawrence. The opportunity to go back and be part of that program again is awesome.”

Roberts, the father of KU sophomore guard Niko Roberts, is expected to be in town Wednesday gearing for the start of spring recruiting.

“Working for Coach for nine years (at Oral Roberts, Tulsa, Illinois, KU) has helped my foundation as a coach,” Roberts said. “The opportunity to work with Joe (Dooley) and Kurtis (Townsend) and the rest of the staff will be great as well.

“It’s going to be even more special because my son is there. He’s built his own life at KU. He wanted us to come and be there, and obviously the mom and dad want to be near their son. His brother, Justin (eighth grader who is a point guard), is really excited. The opportunity to reunite our family in a place we love and enjoy is awesome.

“Obviously my wife (Pascale) is close with Cindy (Self), and our families are very close. This is a great opportunity for me and my family. I’m really blessed.”

Self said he’s “thrilled” that Roberts has re-joined his staff. Manning left KU to become head coach at Tulsa.

“We were together for nine years. My family helped raise his kids. His family has helped raise mine. We’re close,” Self said. “Certainly we hate to see Danny go, but Norm coming back will be a big bonus to our program.

“He’s always been a Kansas guy, having worked Kansas basketball camps in the 1980s for coach (Larry) Brown,” Self added of the 46-year-old Roberts. “As good as he was when he left, now he’s got six years of head-coaching experience under his belt in addition to all the recruiting experience. I think he’s going to be a huge asset to our program.”

Roberts said he’ll miss Florida.

“Billy Donovan has been really, really good to me. I would consider him one of the top five coaches in America, and I learned a tremendous amount being here with Billy and his staff. Leaving here, I feel I’m a better coach and a better person to have worked at Florida,” Roberts said

Florida coach Donovan said: “Norm Roberts did a great job on our staff the past year here at Florida. I have a lot of respect for the Kansas program and Bill Self, and I know this is a great opportunity for Norm and his family to all be together.”

Self said he was in no hurry to fill his director of basketball operations opening. Barry Hinson recently left to become coach at Southern Illinois University.

Comments

Catski1 2 years ago

Welcome Back Norm. We're happy to see you returning to the Jayhawk Family.

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baldwinjhawk 2 years ago

Matt Doherty would be a great DOBO. He has already run two or three D1 programs. Just don't let him near any coaching positions.. But I"m sure he is organized. He was an honors grad from UNC.

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HAWKTOPIA 2 years ago

Bring back Scott Pollard, doesn't he live in Larryville?

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Glenn Moore Jr 2 years ago

If i remember correctly wasnt it roberts who was given most of the credit for bring Rus robertson?

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Andy Hess 2 years ago

It sure isn't a bad deal that Norm Roberts was the head recruiter at Florida for one Chris Walker. That can't hurt.

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monkeehawkSL8 2 years ago

Larry Brown, great coach,basketball legend. I love seeing him appear at games, being photographed in everything K.U. Stability and Larry don't often collide in the same sentence together. Does anyone REALY think he is going to have a positive influence as coach in any capacity that defers from any other one and done? If coach Brown made a statement tomorrow that he were going to join the staff at Kansas and remain until he retired you would believe it? Larry Brown is not going to join the mens b-ball staff. I have really enjoyed and been entertained by Scot Pollard both in college and the pro's, he would not make a good coach for developing players @ KU. Scot is a wing-nut. Believe me I know wing-nuts. Gee maybe Dennis Rodman is available.

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d_bradley27 2 years ago

Would love to see someone w/ proven history of developing bigs. With the style that Self plays we gotta have it. I believe Bill will find his guy but I'd rest easier knowing sooner rather than later.... of course HCBS is concerned w/ how well I'm sleeping ;)

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2 years ago

Dang why does that happen!!!!!

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2 years ago

Chris Walker was asking for questions on twitter yesterday, here is his reply to my question,

@cwalkertime23 Chris Walker Relationship with coach RT @AlantheHawk: @cwalkertime23 when choosing a school what's your #1 priority? Here's hoping - RCJH

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2 years ago

Chris Walker was asking for questions on twitter yesterday, here is his reply to my question,

@cwalkertime23 Chris Walker Relationship with coach RT @AlantheHawk: @cwalkertime23 when choosing a school what's your #1 priority? Here's hoping - RCJH

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fancy80 2 years ago

Norm Roberts is an excellent recruiter. I think this a great hire. can't say that I am surprised though. I too, like many of you like the idea of Jacque Vaughn. he is a basketball genius and probably has a ton of NBA contacts. he is one though that we don't see coming back to Lawrence very often. I also like the idea of Nick Collison someday, when he is ready to hang up the shoes, he would be an excellent big man coach. Future looks bright...but then again, it usually does. Its great being a Jayhawk!

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Vernon Riggs 2 years ago

Doc Sadler, Mike Davis or Matt Doherty for DOBO. All all over qualified but all are unemployed. They know basketball. They all want a second chance (or third, fourth, fifth).

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jhox 2 years ago

I was hoping Self might bring in a young guy with a lot of stud players tied to him, kind of like K State did. Imagine the guys we could bring in with KU's reputation, especially when you consider what those guys did bringing in players to Manhattan freakin' Kansas. Dooley is pretty far removed from his days of having great contacts in the Northeast. Young blood can be a good thing when it comes to recruiting.

I'm sure Norm is a great coach and all, and a good fit, and perhaps having been the head coach at St. Johns will give him some added credibility recruiting NY, so by no means am I suggesting this is a bad hire or anything. I'm sure it's a very good re-hire. I was just personally hoping they'd bring in a young enthusiastic guy to replace Danny (or Larry Brown would have been awesome, even if not exactly fitting the young description.)

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Kye Clark 2 years ago

To those throwing out names for Hinson's replacement, let me remind you that there are no more assistant coaching positions available. We will hire someone to take Hinson's place, but it's my understanding that the position is not allowed to coach or recruit. UK was slapped with a secondary violation or something a couple of years ago because their assistant director of basketball operations was simply rebounding for the guys taking shots in practice.

Only coaches can can instruct players and recruit. So any desire to replace Hinson with Raef, Pollard, Simien, etc. should know that person is not going to be helping with the bigs. If you want to hire someone like that and let them get comfortable in the program and possibly use that as a stepping stone to full-on assistant, as Danny did as director of player development I believe, then that's fine. But right now we're set on actual coaches.

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litlmikeyb 2 years ago

I think the key for Bill is getting someone who he is comfortable with and clearly there's a personal relationship there, but also Bill must treasure Norm as either a recruiter or a coach or both. Considering the other assistants that he's had over the years, I fully trust that there's significant value for the program overall in this hire and not just the personal one for Bill.

By the way, I'm going to the Bill Self Fantasy Camp this upcoming weekend! Beyond excited about this.

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KUUBERFAN 2 years ago

What a good re get...Norm can recruit New York...we need to continue to recruit that New York/New Jersey toughness...cool..ya suckas...

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Sally Presson 2 years ago

Welcome back Norm, it's great you are coming back.

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baldwinjhawk 2 years ago

Damn Jay you are a downer today. Come on bro lighten up! WELCOME HOME NORM! rcjh

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jaybate 2 years ago

Part Three

~Because Donovan seemed such a stand-up guy about Norm, it seems like Self and Norm owe it to Donovan not to strip Florida recruits from Donovan. Heck, because Donovan seems to have been part of the coaching group that has tried to stand up to the rogue elements in the talent conveyor belt, Self and Norm may be need to send one Billy's way sometime, the same way Self appeared to send Michael Snaer to Leonard and that big to Billy Gillispie at Kentucky.

~I read a Florida article on Norm's departure and Billy Donovan sounds very gracious and cool with Roberts coming to KU. Donovan seems more and more among the good guys. And dang he's got two rings!

~Here is hoping Norm Roberts can still coach and relate to the players as well as he has in the past, and that he can drag some hot prospects out of NYC and the boroughs there. Russell Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor have proven to me that there are not just talents in New York, but talents with great character that bring honor to The Legacy.

~Final note: as I re-read this post it sounds more critical and doubting than I mean it to sound. I think Norm Roberts is a good add. I just can't tell how much of a recruiter he is. I suspect others will be able to set me straight on all the exceptional talent he is responsible for bringing to Illinois, and KU, and players at St. Johns I do not know about.

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jaybate 2 years ago

Part Two

Darnell Jackson? He was a long time Roy recruit closely tied to the KU alum that got him in trouble for giving him $5K.

Didn't Darrell Arthur sign after Norm left...because of a dream? :-)

I was always under the impression that Self largely landed Sasha and Sherron, but I could be wrong on that, too.

Add in Norm's reported black listing at St. Johns by certain AAU and juco coaches for not playing grease the wheels, and it gets hard to find much big time talent that Norm has landed.

Self has characterized his and Norm's recruits at Tulsa as being more like Braeden Anderson, Kevin Young, Merv, and Jamari, than 4 and 5 star recruits.

Norm has only been at Florida for a season and that's not a very long time to get to know kids in the southeast.

Here's to hoping board rats here can recall some big time talent beyond just Russell Robinson that Norm has landed, so we have reason to be excited about his return as a top flight recruiter that can lock up some 4-5 stars for us, while also coaching big men.

~Illini big men played very well during Self and Norm's years in Champaign-Urbana, so there's reason to think we can keep this big man think tank steaming forward.

~Donovan hired Norm, when Norm was radioactive. That hire turned the corner for me on Donovan, whom I had been suspicious of over the years because of his connections to Slick Rick. It took some real huevos to hire Norm, when Donovan hired him. Donovan no doubt felt he could benefit from Norm's recruiting contacts in New York, having been recruiting for a number of years in the Big Apple and east coast. Did Norm deliver any players to Florida in the brief time he was at Florida? Maybe someone here knows.

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Toto_the_great 2 years ago

Any word on whether Jerrence Howard joining the staff? Rumors circulating around Chicago that he is. He can recruit Chicago and "business" that is the public league.

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jaybate 2 years ago

"On Norm"

~Looks like no more party time for Niko. :-)

~Norm is a proven assistant coach, who can teach the game.

~Norm and Self are tight. With Hinson gone, Self needs that tightness.

~I do wonder how much he can add as a recruiter.

When Norm arrived at KU on Self's staff, he was portrayed as Self's top recruiter, so it never really occurred to me to wonder about his recruiting bonafides. Self and he had been successful at Tulsa and Illinois.

Recently, in a post, I mentioned some searching for possible candidates and came up one name that I cannot now recalll (and am too lazy to search for at this moment). He was a guy who specialized in recruiting Illinois, especially Chicago. He had been an Illinois high school coach. What I read suggested that that guy recruited Frank Williams, Brian Cook, and maybe Luther, Dee, etc. The guy was apparently on the staff with Kruger and carried over with Self, but did not come with Self to KU. Again, I forget his name now. Grrrrrr.

If that fellow recruited most of the talent to Illinois, then my question is what substantial players exactly has Norm been responsible for recruiting?

If you look back to the BRush class, Chalmers and his dad appeared to come as a package and go as package, so its not clear that Self, or Norm, were responsible for landing Chalmers in the conventional sense of recruiting. They were willing to hire poppa.

My guess is Roberts pulled Russell Robinson out of New York, since Roberts grew up and got his start in New York. But who else did Norm clearly bring to KU of a high ranking nature?

BRush was a complicated deal. Roy had recruited the older Rush brothers at times. BRush, if I recall was going elsewhere, maybe to the pros, then got caught up in the recent OAD changes, had some transcript complexities, and at the last minute, reversed field and switched to KU. do we assign Brandon to Norm, or Bill? If Norm pulled Brandon in, then that was decisive coup. But I've never been able to really understand who landed Brandon, except that he seemed to be one of the rabbits Self had pulled out of his hat from time to time.

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Tony Bandle 2 years ago

Things as shocking as Norm returning to Kansas is a great idea:

1] The sun rose this morning. 2] Pizza has the toppings on one side. 3] The Kardashians sisters did, are or will do something stupid. 4] Missouri sucks. 5] Beer and a hot dog taste good. 6] It isn't easy being the President. 7] Gravity. 8] Calipari cheated. 9] Jayhawk Nation bleeds Crimson and Blue.

Welcome back, Norm....... welcome home!!!

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REHawk 2 years ago

Sounds like a superb comfortzone fit for Bill Self and Co. As for Director of Operations, perhaps there is another Ronnie Chalmers or Ed Manning out there somewhere, with a son waiting in the wings for an opportunity to play near his parent and become our next championship gunner.

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Ethan Berger 2 years ago

Any news regarding Larry Brown?

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5to6 2 years ago

SAM: "What'll you have Normie?" NORM: "Well, I'm in a gambling mood Sammy. I'll take a glass of whatever comes out of that tap."

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BPSkelly 2 years ago

If anyone remembers Steve Robinson sorta has/had the same route and report with Roy. If im correct coached for quite awhile and then went back with Roy at UNC. I think he's still there.

It's who you know. There are worse places to be an assistant coach than KU and UNC.

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brinkofdawn 2 years ago

What about Raef LaFrentz to replace Hinson? Two-time All-American. Had a great college career and decent pro career. Wasn't his dad a high school coach? He seemed to have a pretty good basketball IQ when he was here. Doesn't mean he'd make a good coach, but it would be an opportunity for recruits to learn from a great college BIG who made it to the NBA...similar to Manning.

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jayhawkinATL 2 years ago

Let me be the first to cry "nepotism"!!!! First his kid comes as a player and now he comes as a coach??? Weird way to work a "package" deal. Gotta be a first. (OK, please don't take the above seriously...LOL)

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RockChalk26 2 years ago

So I didn't get the job? I guess its back to the drawing board.

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AsadZ 2 years ago

How about Simien coming in to replace Hinson. He would be a great role model and can also help Bigs.

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Jonathan Allison 2 years ago

it makes too much sense to not happen.

Bill Self has been instrumental in molding Norm's career and getting him the HC position at St John's. Unfortunately St John's didn't work out for Norm. Self has a record of being loyal to his friends and former assistant coaches, etc. Plus the Stewart family clearly loves Bill Self and KU, with Niko here with 2 years of eligibility remaining.

Welcome back Norm.

Put your shoes on and get ready to hit the recruiting trail!

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Sam Constance 2 years ago

If I had been asked prior to filling the spot vacated by Danny, I think this would have been my ideal outcome.

Obviously, he brings knowledge of the program, a nice recruiting network and a great assistant coach track record. Certainly, he doesn't replace Danny's personal knowledge and big-man instruction ability, but as far as the role of assistant coach, Norm Roberts is a GREAT solution.

But the thing that really makes me like this hire is how Coach Roberts will be able to also fill the personal relationship void (for Self) that was created by Barry Hinson taking the SIU position. I can't remember where I read it, but I've seen in multiple places how close a personal friend Hinson was to Self, and even though Hinson has a good basketball mind, the truth is that he was the Director of Basketball Ops, not an assistant coach. His value to the KU staff was, imho, primarily due to he and Self's repoire and the fact that it gave Self someone to bounce his thoughts, ideas, concerns, worries off of in a less formal setting than a coach's meeting.

I think Roberts will be able to come in and fill that void, given he and Self's long (and close) personal history with each other. And by filling the assistant coach role with a guy who can fill multiple voids, it really takes the pressure off of the new Director of Basketball Ops hire.

Who knows, maybe that's the best way to get Coach Brown back in the fold at KU. That way, he takes on a job where his primary responsibilities are administrative in nature, but are pretty light (relative to a full-on assistant coach) in terms of stress level and time-consumption. Hinson was a former head coach who took the role, so the precedent is there. Obviously, Larry Brown's head coaching track record is a little different than Barry Hinson's but the point is that it's a role where a person can be close to the team and program and provide input like a coach, but without the traditional rigors and demands of being an actual coach.

To me, that seems like it's a perfect fit for Brown, who just wants to get back into basketball, but is probably a little too old to do it as a full-time head coach.

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master16 2 years ago

glad to see Norm is back with HCBS.

also a positive: apparently Norm and 2013 recruit Chris Walker have a good relationship, which cant hurt our chances at all.

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Dyrk Dugan 2 years ago

Great hire....Norm was on Bill's staff all of those earlier years...it's a great fit. and the man can recruit, recruit and recruit. :)

Welcome back Mr. Roberts!

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wrwlumpy 2 years ago

Welcome back Norm. Go get them east coast Jimmy Chitwoods.

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wrwlumpy 2 years ago

Welcome back Norm. Go get them east coast Jimmy Chitwoods.

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Jim Jackson 2 years ago

Pollard would be a great addtion to the staff. Let's get em!!

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swunruhawk 2 years ago

Great news on Norm. Let's get Scott Pollard to help with the big men.

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southwindjay 2 years ago

Great! Nothing but upside having him back.

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KEITHMILES05 2 years ago

Very few former players make good coaches. Manning was the exception.

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Hail_To_Thee 2 years ago

Awesome get. Hell of a recruiter.

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Chris Shaw 2 years ago

I could see Vaughn coming into fill Barry Hinson's role, but nothing else at the moment.

Personally, I would rather see somebody like Steve Woodberry, but he just go hired on at Tulsa under D.Manning's staff. Woodberry was at Missouri State for 6 years I believe, so this will be a good stepping stone for him. It at least puts him in closer contact with Self.

As for Roberts, glad to see him back on the sideline! He has ties to a number of recruits so it will be nice to have that network back for the Crimson and Blue. I know he has a close relationship with Chris Walker, so let's hope he can lure him to Lawrence!

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2 years ago

Norm! Welcome home, Mr. Peterson, I mean, Mr. Roberts :-)

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FarSideHawk 2 years ago

I had been expecting this announcement. Happy to have him back. He should be able to provide a boost in recruiting.

Bconn73, Vaughn is my favorite all-time Jayhawk and nothing would make me happier than seeing him on the KU bench, but I think he has chosen the NBA coaching path already.

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frompekka2sasha 2 years ago

Kool and the Gang! I dig it the most.

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Brendan Connolly 2 years ago

Great to have Norm back. I have been pushing on here for Jacque Vaughn and would have loved to have him here, but can't argue with Norm. If and it is a big if, Larry Brown doesn't get any official position, would love to see him remain involved as he was the last two to three months of the season.

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Miguel Colón 2 years ago

This makes me happy, anyone else??

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