Junior college transfer Rico Pickett couldn't even make it through a week of the regular season at Manhattan without "violating a team rule."
Jasper coach Barry Rohrssen knew he wasn't signing a saint when he beat out Jim Calhoun and Billy Donovan for Pickett, who endured two suspensions as a freshman at Alabama, but, although Rohrssen never verbalized the following statement, the coach embraced the point guard as his last life-line.
Rohrssen knew his back was against the wall.
After three full seasons at the helm, his team still fit the mold of a rebuilding squad, which was an acceptable label in 2006-07 and 2007-08, but definitely not in 2008-09 or the present.
He struggled to live up to recruiting expectations, and, when he did sign highly-rated high school seniors, they transferred after a year or two.
Pickett was Rohrssen's last chance to prove that he was the recruiter Manhattan thought he would be. From April until November, the "Fire Barry" sentiments evaporated into the Riverdale air because Jasper fans hoped Pickett, who was ranked No. 46 in ESPN's 2007 recruiting class, could revive the program.
Now, the hope is gone.
Pickett's violation had not been disclosed to the public as of Friday night. As a result, Manhattan fans are speculating the worst—the vagueness of his suspension implies an offense much worse than a late arrival to practice.
Given Pickett's history, it is fair to assume he brought the suspension on himself. However, Rohrssen knew he would need to monitor Pickett's lack of discipline, yet he failed to do so. Therefore, this violation is, ultimately, the coach's fault.
The suspension joins Rohrssen's poor recruiting, limited player development, and ineffective coaching on the growing list of reasons for Manhattan to fire its coach.
There is no doubt that Rohrssen is a nice, moral person. Unfortunately, though, he was never cut out to be a mid-major head coach.
This is his fourth year at the helm. He was given a chance to rebuild, but his players, under his reign, have not carried Manhattan back to the top of the MAAC.
If firing a coach in-season was acceptable in college basketball, you know what I'd say. But, it isn't.
Regardless, Rohrssen should not be walking the sidelines at Draddy Gymnasium come November 2010.