Ben: also, I'll be on News 14 tonight beginning sometime in the 5 pm hour segment to talk about Mike Dunlap
That seemed to be the question on everyone's mind last night after Rick Bonnell and the Charlotte Observer broke the news that St. John's assistant coach Mike Dunlap would become the next head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats.
Heck, I was getting text messages that read "Who in the hell is Mike Dunlap?"
He may not have the prominence of Jerry Sloan or Brian Shaw or even Quin Snyder, but before people scream "Penny pinching!", let's take some time to learn about him.
His offensive philosophies revolve around motion and his defensive ones center on team pressure. Dunlap's much more well-known for his defensive strategies and he's skilled at Xs and Os. Utilizing the 1-1-3 man zone defense, Dunlap focuses on pressing, pressuring opponents out of their rhythm and rotating as a team.
Dunlap has experience at many levels, to boot. He won national championships in Division II, and was an assistant at Arizona and Oregon before going to St. John's. At St. John's, head coach Steve Lavin underwent recovery from prostate cancer, leaving Dunlap as the acting head coach. Despite being undermanned and overmatched as a team while the head coach was out, Dunlap brought the team together with iron-like resolve. Moe Harkless, currently going through the rigors of the NBA draft process tweeted that Dunlap, who coached him at St. John's, has a "strong passion and is dedicated to the game more than any coach [he's] had" and that Dunlap wasn't exactly a fan of yawning.
Dunlap was also an assistant under George Karl on the Nuggets. Karl effused nothing but praise for Dunlap, saying "Mike Dunlap absolutely elevates every player and team he comes into contact with.... He will take you from good to great. Name any top-level, elite coach in the game - the only difference between Mike and them is their address. There is no higher level of coaching ability than his. There is absolutely no one better."
Great hire by Bobcats! Mike Dunlap is one of the most creative defensive minds I've ever worked with. Welcome back to the NBA!— George Karl (@CoachKarl22) June 19, 2012
The process in searching for a coach was weird, convoluted, confusing, surprising -- you name it. But before throwing Mike Dunlap under the bus before he's set foot on the practice court as the head coach, maybe he's earned the shot.
For more reading on Dunlap, I highly suggest these articles: