By Eddie Mayrose

St. John’s Basketball May Be Out of the Norm

If this is where it ends for St. John’s Head Coach Norm Roberts, if yesterday’s loss to Marquette; his 100th, is the one from which he is not permitted to return, he need only to look in his own backyard as the reason he was unable to return St. John’s to the upper echelon of college basketball.

Charged with cleaning up the scandal ridden mess left by his predecessor, Mike Jarvis, Roberts has been every bit the classy, gentlemanly face Red Storm administrators had hoped when he was hired.  Despite their lack of success, his teams have been the kind of hard working, blue collar squads appreciated by coaches everywhere.  What they lacked, however, was that star player to put them over the top. The player that bails you out on a bad day.  The player that brings your school recognition with a successful NBA career.  The player that draws the media to practice and the fans to Madison Square Garden.  The player that, sadly, toils in High School gyms throughout the Metropolitan area but hasn’t decided to bring his game to Queens.  Having gone his entire tenure without recruiting a player that went on the the NBA, Roberts may have had his fate sealed last month, when just 3,500 showed up at the Garden on the night the Johnnies honored the 1985 Final Four squad led by Chris Mullin; the most recognizable player in their history.

Sadly, while Roberts has been unable to lure any of the city’s prep school stars to his program; something that was the foundation of the success of Lou Carnesecca, the situation has been made worse by the fact that many of these cagers enroll at rival Big East schools.  How difficult must it be for a Johnnies fan to watch West Virginia run the Red Storm out of the gym with five area starters?  Or endure a litany of Big East Champions led by New York point guards?  For some reason, Roberts has either been unable or unwilling to tap into the talent pools of the city’s prep leagues and now,  it has likely cost him his job.

Roberts is a guy you pull for; a guy who paid his dues while working his way up to his dream job.  However, in the big money world of college basketball, that isn’t always enough.  Despite the fact that St. John’s basketball program is one of the nation’s most successful, there is now an entire generation of young basketball fans that has never seen a Johnnies squad ranked in the Top 25.  Who’d a thunk?


New York Mets Still Have Medical Issues

Since word broke about Jose Reyes and his overactive thyroid, speculation that his condition may be a result of HGH use has run rampant.  While that’s simply a function of the current state of baseball; where each injury is now scrutinized for its possible link to some performance enhancing drug, it also serves to add another sorry chapter to the relationship between the Mets’ medical staff and its players.

Last year, Reyes played his last game in May; a result of a hamstring injury that eventually needed surgery.  You wouldn’t have known that to read the preliminary medical reports that initially had the shortstop listed as day to day with a calf injury.  Reyes then injured the hamstring during rehab; a setback from which he’d never return, despite reports from team doctors to the contrary.  Teammate Carlos Beltran, continued to play with a bone bruise in his leg last season because he was advised that his condition could not worsen.  A month later, Beltran went on the DL because the bruise, had in fact, doubled in size.  Beltran finally underwent surgery in January; a procedure the Mets knew nothing of, and will miss the start of the season.

You have to wonder how it’s possible that an organization could be as uninformed about such high priced commodities as its own players.  Yet, here was Reyes, making a trip to Canada that the Mets may or may not have known about, to the blood-spinning doctor now in trouble up to his stethoscope over his distribution of HGH.  “If we stay healthy…” is the motto of every club during Spring Training as they gear up for Opening Day.  In the Mets’ case, however, that “if” is seemingly much larger, thanks to a medical staff that can’t seem to get on the same page as the players.

The NBA Has Left the Building

Last Saturday, I thought I was taking my son, Tim, to his first professional basketball game.   However, after sitting through the silliness that was Knicks-Nets, I realize that I still owe him an NBA game.

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