Tag Archives: mike dunlap

St. John’s asst. coach Mike Dunlap named head coach of Charlotte Bobcats


| brennison@queenscourier.com


The pipeline that Steve Lavin has created from St. John’s to the NBA is not for players only.

Assistant coach Mike Dunlap has been named as the next head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats — his first head coaching job at the Division I or NBA level.

Dunlap, 54, took over Red Storm coaching duties this past season as Lavin was recovering from surgery. He led the team to an 11-19 record while at the helm of a team that played almost exclusively freshmen.

“The Johnnies basketball family is ecstatic for Coach Dunlap’s opportunity. Mike’s selection as the Charlotte Bobcats’ head coach is a well-deserved honor,” Lavin said in a statement. “ To make the unprecedented jump from college assistant to NBA head coach is testament to both Mike’s abilities as a teacher and our basketball program’s marked improvement over the past 27 months.”

Dunlap was reportedly not on the Bobcats shortlist — which included Jerry Sloan, Indiana assistant Brian Shaw and Lakers assistant Quin Snyder — for the opening, but was offered the job Monday night.

Prior to joining the Johnnies, Dunlap was associate head coach with the Oregon Ducks and Arizona Wildcats.

The new Bobcats coach also has NBA coaching experience. Dunlap spent two seasons as a coach on George Karl’s staff with the Denver Nuggets.

Moe Harkless, another former Red Storm who will shortly join Dunlap in the NBA, tweeted, “Dunlap, a great coach, better person. Strong passion and is dedicated to the game more than any coach I’ve had. No doubt he’ll be successful.”

The Bobcats last season set the record for NBA futility finishing 7-59, the worst winning percentage in NBA history.

 

St. John’s trounced by Syracuse 95-70


| brennison@queenscourier.com


St. John’s-Syracuse games at MadisonSquareGarden often have a buzz as both squads’ lay claim to being New York’s team. This day though belonged to second-ranked Syracuse as the Orange (23-1, 10-1 Big East) trounced the Red Storm (10-13, 4-7) 95-70.  Throughout the game – especially in the second half – the sold-out Garden sounded more like the Carrier Dome –Syracuse’s home court.

Chants of “Let’s go Orange” filled Syracuse’s “second home” as the team increased their lead, continually getting easy baskets.

St. John’s has now played nine ranked teams this year – including the number one and number two teams in the nation – losing each game. The Johnnies beat six ranked opponents last year.

The Johnnies fell behind early and could never claw their way back into the game. Confronted with the same situation they faced against Duke a week prior – trailing by more than 20 points against a top 10 team – St. John’s could not make the stops they needed to go on a sustained run. 

Syracuse’s size allowed them to play above the rim and get the shots they wanted all game – the team shot 56 percent from the field and had 52 points in the paint.

“We moved the ball really well,” said Jim Boeheim, who tied Dean Smith for third place on the all-time wins list with 879. “We got really good shots every time down the court.”

 “Beginning, middle and end, they dominated us on the boards and they converted off of those second chance points,” said assistant coach Mike Dunlap, who continues to fill in for Steve Lavin as he recovers from prostate cancer surgery.

The Orange grabbed 16 of their 31 misses converting many second chance scoring opportunities.

Any hopes of a Red Storm comeback were squelched within the second half’s first two and a half minutes as the Orange went on a 9-0 run and Moe Harkless picked up his third and fourth fouls forcing him to the bench.

The Johnnies were never able to get within 20 after the Orange’s early second half run.

St. John’s all-freshmen starting lineup – the “Fresh Five” – was not on the court at the opening tip for the first time in four games as D’Angelo Harrison was late for the bus and sat out the opening 2 minutes.

After being held scoreless over the game’s first three minutes and thirty seconds, Syracuse went on a 12-2 run to take a lead they never relinquished.  A 6-0 run to end the first half pushed the Orange’s lead into double digits and then their 9-0 run to open the second half put the game out of reach.

The 95 points was the most St. John’s has given up all year and the most a Big East team has scored in a conference game this season.

Harrison led the Johnnies with 23 points and added five assists and four rebounds.

Fab Melo – in his first game back from suspension – Dion Waiters and C.J. Fair led 10 Orange in the scoring column with 14 points

St. John’s next faces Cincinnati (15-7, 5-4) on Wednesday, February 8 at MSG.  The Johnnies defeated the Bearcats earlier this year 57-55 atCincinnati.

St.John’s ends skid, beats West Virginia 78-62


| brennison@queenscourier.com


The youth movement – which had been in effect all season for St. John’s– might now need a nickname.

Playing possibly their most complete game of the season, St. John’s (9-11, 3-6 Big East) defeated West Virginia (15-6, 5-3), 78-62.

Halfway through the Big East schedule, the young team –St. John’s starting lineup consisted of all freshman – learned losses could quickly pile up during conference play.  The team had lost four in a row and six of seven.

“You have to play have to play hard for 40 minutes in the Big East,” said Harrison.  “No game is safe.”

The all freshmen lineup is one Head Coach Steve Lavin has been discussing in team meetings, telling Assistant Coach Mike Dunlap to go with it when he felt it.

Dunlap has taken the reins of the team as Lavin recovers from prostate cancer surgery.

While rare for a program to start five freshmen, it is not unprecedented.

“Unfortunately, in 1992 I saw the Fab Five and I didn’t like that much,” West Virginia Head Coach Bob Huggins said after the game.  “I didn’t like this a whole lot more.”

St. John’s trotted out their own version of famed freshmen dubbed the “Wonder Five” in the late 1920s.

The still-developing team jumped out to an early lead for the third time in the last four games, but this time out was able to sustain that lead.  

Prior to the game Dunlap laid out three goals for the team: play West Virginia even on the boards, run and make adjustments during the game – the team has struggled closing out games recently.

The Red Storm out rebounded West Virginia 25-18 in the first half while jumping out to a 16-point lead; they out scored the Mountaineers 22-5 in fast break points; and after the game Dunlap said he was pleased with the team’s defensive energy in the second half.

The Johnnies held West Virginia to just three of 14 shooting over the games first 12 minutes, allowing them to take an early 21-6 lead.  The Mountaineers, who never got closer than nine in the second half, shot below 36 percent from the field for only the third time this year.

Moe Harkless led four Johnnies in double figures with 23 points.

Harkless outplayed West Virginia’s Kevin Jones, the Big East’s leading scorer and rebounder, on both ends of the floor in the first half while the Johnnies built their lead.  Jones, a favorite for the Big East Player of the Year award, did most of his damage in the second half with the game out of reach, scoring 20 of his 26 points. 

Speaking about Harkless after the game, the senior Jones said the first-year player impressed him and had a chance to develop into a really good player.

Harkless, 13 rebounds, recorded his seventh double double while adding three blocks.  Phil Greene finished with a season-high 8 assists.

“Today we just played great,” Harkless said.  “We’re getting better every game.”

The Johnnies now travel to Duke to take on the #6/8 Blue Devils Saturday at noon. St. John’s defeated Duke at MSG last season 93-78.

St. John’s falls in overtime to Villanova, 79-76


| brennison@queenscourier.com


With the clock winding down in overtime and St. John’s down three to Villanova, the number one option on the potential game-tying play – Moe Harkless – could only stand and watch.

Fans that braved the cold were rewarded with a heated Big East battle that came down to the buzzer with the Johnnies falling to Villanova, 79-76 in overtime.

St. John’s (8-11, 2-6 Big East) last possession broke down and the ensuing scramble led to Sir’Dominic Pointer – who has hit only five of 25 threes this year – taking the final shot that clanged off the front of the rim, leaving the Johnnies with their fourth straight loss and sixth in their last seven games.

“Coach [Dunlap] drew up a good play,” said guard Phil Greene, who finished with a career-high 14 points. “We didn’t come out and execute it right, but we still had an opportunity and a good look to tie the game.”

The Red Storm found themselves in overtime only after losing a double-digit lead with less than seven minutes to play and not getting a shot off on the final possession of regulation.

“The execution of the last play before the buzzer went off and overtime is my responsibility, no one else’s,” said Assistant Coach Mike Dunlap, who has stepped in for Steve Lavin as he continues to recover from October prostate cancer surgery.

With the game tied and less than 10 seconds remaining, God’sgift Achiuwa’s errant pass to Harkless was stolen forcing overtime.

Though the Johnnies failed to convert their last-second opportunities and were out rebounded by 16, Dunlap said the outcome of the game came down to foul shots.

“We left the game on the free throw line.  It’s that simple,” Dunlap said.  “You can talk about the rebounds, you can talk about the turnovers, but the bottom line is free throws are easy baskets.”

St. John’s shot 14-25 from the line, which included five misses in the extra period.

After hitting just four of their 22 three-pointers during regulation, Villanova made both attempts in overtime helping them build a seven-point lead which the Johnnies could not overcome.

The Red Storm jumped out to an early 12-4 lead on the strength of five of six shooting, including two Harrison three-pointers – which matched the team’s total from the previous two games.

The Johnnies followed that hot streak by, as has happened often this season, going cold, hitting just four of their next 22 shots.

In the second half, the Johnnies again came out firing on all cylinders.  This time, St. John’s was able to carry the momentum through the rest of half shooting 68 percent, led by D’Angelo Harrison’s 20 points.

Harrison set a career high in points – 28 – after struggling over his previous two games, hitting just three of 19 shots over those contests.

Villanova (10-10, 3-5) was led by the Big East’s second leading scorer Maalik Wayns who scored 28 – including two game tying shots with under 70 seconds left in regulation.

St. John’s next faces West Virginia (15-5, 5-2) Wednesday night at MSG at 7 p.m.