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College Round-up: Queens’ Roberts named head assistant at Kansas U.

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He’s a long way from a cramped office at Queens College, but Springfield Gardens native and former Knights basketball coach Norm Roberts still has a picture of his first coaching job hanging in his office.

“It’s a picture of one of my first games at Queens with one of my players going up for a layup,” Roberts told the TimesLedger from his new office in Lawrence, Kan. where he was just named associate head coach at the University of Kansas. “In the background there are about 20 people. and 10 of them are my family members. I keep it up all the time and tell the players it’s a reminder of where you come from … I know how fortunate I am.”

Roberts, who was also one of the best players in Queens College history, joins Bill Self at the University of Kansas, it was officially announced Monday. Self and Roberts leave the University of Illinois to head to basketball-crazed Kansas after Roy Williams left to become the head coach at the University of North Carolina.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Roberts said. “It’s an awesome opportunity and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Roberts has been with Self since Self was hired as the head coach of Oral Roberts University in 1994. Three years later Roberts joined Self at the University of Tulsa and from there it was on to the University of Illinois in 2001.

“Norm will be coming with us from the University of Illinois and will be our associate head coach here,” Self said at a press conference Monday in Lawrence. “He is as good as it gets … We have been really successful and he has played a huge role in everything we have going on.”

Roberts does have a connection to KU, through his older brother Kenny Roberts, who was a walk-on for former coach Ted Owens in the late 1970s. He said the reality of being named associate head coach at Kansas has yet to hit him.

“The reality will probably set in during the first game here,” said Roberts, who had a 24-82 record in four years at Queens College. “It’s been pretty crazy and exciting at the same time. I’ve gotten about seven hours of sleep in the last two days. I’m trying to hit the ground running and start recruiting.”

Priority No. 1 for Roberts will be to try to land Queens native Charlie Villanueva, whom he successfully convinced to orally commit to Illinois. The versatile 6-foot-9 forward didn’t sign a letter of intent and the blue-chipper has indicated, according to published reports, he is interested in declaring himself eligible for the NBA Draft.

If he doesn’t go to the draft, the former Newtown standout by way of Blair Academy in N.J. can elect to follow Self and Roberts to Kansas, which has one available scholarship, or go to any number of schools. According to published reports, as many as 14 schools have become interested in recent weeks, including Connecticut and NCAA champion Syracuse.

Softball

University of New Haven 8-4, Queens College 0-0. The Queens College Lady Knights (19-10, 14-4) were shutout in both games of a twin bill Saturday despite some solid starting pitching from Erin Lynch and Victoria Forsythe. Forsythe was the victim of five Queens errors and an anemic offense that produced on two hits in the opener, as New Haven scratched out eight unearned runs in the five-inning game. In the nightcap, Lynch gave up just five hits, but more shoddy defense produced another five errors and four unearned runs.

St. John’s 2, Seton Hall 0. Jessica Cameron and Alesha Argeras had RBI singles and Meghan Allman pitched 5.2 innings to get the win for the Red Storm (22-22, 7-7 Big East) in the nightcap of a doubleheader Saturday.

Courtney Fitzgerald went the distance in the opener, but St. John's fell 4-2.

Queensborough Community College 11, Westchester Community College 0. Shamika Bota struck out six in a complete-game shutout for QCC (7-2, 3-1 Region XV) in the nightcap of a doubleheader.

Queensborough Community College 7, Westchester Community College 6. Former Adams standout Natasha Kirkland belted a two-run triple in the sixth inning for the Tigers.

Baseball

Queensborough Community College 9, Bronx Community College 3. Former Van Buren standout Brian Berg allowed six hits and two runs, striking out eight in 6.1 innings while going 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored and one RBI for QCC (13-6, 9-5 Region XV) last Thursday. Jeff Lulanaj went 2-for-5, including an RBI-double in a three-run eighth inning. Bayside grad Roger Mischel was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and former Aviation star Fadul Bambino was 3-for-5 with a solo home run, two RBIs and a run scored for the Tigers.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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