Too Bad for Norm Roberts

Lost one of his best players...not even in a scrimmage. That's a tough break for a rookie coach:

As it turns out, the loss of St. John's junior guard Jermaine Maybank to a season-ending injury was entirely avoidable.Red Storm coach Norm Roberts said yesterday that Maybank was not injured in the program's annual Red-White scrimmage Nov. 4, but in the slam dunk contest that followed it.

"I didn't want to (have) it at first," Roberts said. "But I wanted to do something for the student body ... to reward their excitement."

Maybank, who's from the Bronx, joined the team this season on a transfer from Independence (Kan.) Community College and was perceived by teammates to be the front-runner in a hotly contested battle to become the team's starting shooting guard. He averaged 12.1 points and 5.9 rebounds last season at Independence.