Bobcats hire St. John’s assistant Mike Dunlap

AP Photo/DayLifeThe Bobcats had reportedly whittled their list of general managers to three names — Brian Shaw, Jerry Sloan and Quinn Snyder. So it figures that the team that had the worst record in NBA history went away from that list for a young coach with little NBA experience.

Bonus points if you know who Bobcats new coach Mike Dunlap actually is.

NBA fans met Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer’s report with a collective: “Huh?”

Yes, it is true. St. John’s associate head coach Mike Dunlap will be the new head coach for the Bobcats.

Dunlap has very limited experience in the NBA, serving as one of George Karl’s assistant in Denver from 2006-08. He has spent the last two years as Steve Lavin’s lead assistant coach in a St. John’s turnaround that has been quite stunning. Last year, Dunlap took over for Lavin temporarily when Lavin was recovering from prostate cancer.

The way he is described, he is a high-energy coach who connects well with players and works well developing them. Bonnell reports this is what resonated with Bobcats staff in their interview with him.

“The Observer’s source, who asked for anonymity because Dunlap’s hire isn’t official, said Dunlap impressed the front office with his high energy and collaborative approach. Also, he wants to run an up-tempo offense and attacking defense that figures to fit some of the Bobcats’ younger personnel.”

And there is this from Bloguin NBA Draft guru, Ed Isaacson:

Twitter / nbadraftblog: While Dunlap doesn’t have via kwout

Twitter / nbadraftblog: If you want to learn about via kwout

He certainly seems to be in line with the trend in teams hiring coaches that can relate to players. The hard-charging ways of Stan Van Gundy, Pat Riley and Jerry Sloan seems to be going by the way side.

Dunlap is a very experienced coach, albeit at the college level. He has been coaching since 1980 including associate head coach positions at Oregon and Arizona in addition to St. John’s. He coached professionals in Australia as a head coach for the Adelaide 36ers from 1994-97 before moving to Denver and working for George Karl.

It is only the fact Dunlap came from absolutely nowhere to get the job that has NBA fans scratching their heads. He is an experienced coach.

“Mike Dunlap absolutely elevates every player and team he comes into contact with,” George Karl said on St. John’s Web site biography for Dunlap. “He is our guy. 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.”

This is a hire with some thought behind it. The Bobcats are a young team, so maybe a college coach who can develop players is the way to go. Of course, the NBA game is much much different.

It will be an interesting experiment for Michael Jordan and his team.

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily