By Jon Rothstein
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The Charlotte Bobcats’ decision to hire St. John’s associate head coach Mike Dunlap means Steve Lavin has an awfully big slot to fill on his staff.
Dunlap, a renowned X’s and O’s guru, did an admirable job filling in for Lavin last season while the head coach recovered from prostate cancer surgery, but now his departure means the Red Storm has to add a high profile assistant before the 2012-13 campaign begins next fall.
Sources have confirmed that the budget at St. John’s is done for the next fiscal year and Lavin will have all of the monetary resources he needs to replace Dunlap on his staff with someone of the highest caliber.
Four potential candidates:
JIM BOYLEN, ASSISTANT COACH, INDIANA PACERS
THE SKINNY: The former head coach of Utah is believed to be at the top of Lavin’s wish list and supposedly has a desire to return to the college game. In addition to leading the Utes to a Mountain West Conference title in 2009, Boylen has over 15 years of NBA experience. The Michigan native started his coaching career in his home state under under the legendary Jud Heathcote at Michigan State.
PAUL BIANCARDI, FORMER HEAD COACH, WRIGHT STATE
THE SKINNY: The Horizon League Coach of the Year in 2004 at Wright State, Biancardi was also an integral part of a staff that helped Ohio State reach the Final Four in 1999 under former coach Jim O’Brien. Now the national recruiting director for ESPN, Biancardi has deep grassroots basketball ties throughout the 50 states and is a renowned tactician that is universally respected across the college basketball world. Biancardi also spent one season as an assistant coach at Saint Louis under Rick Majerus in 2007-08.
SCOTT PERA, ASSISTANT COACH, ARIZONA STATE
THE SKINNY: Pera has a longstanding relationship with Lavin dating back to when he was head coach at Artesia high school in Southern California and Lavin was at UCLA. Now an assistant under Herb Sendek with the Sun Devils, Pera was instrumental in recruiting both James Harden and Derek Glasser to Arizona State. Originally from Central Pennsylvania, Pera is viewed by many as a future head coach that just needs an opportunity to showcase himself — St. John’s could be just that.
BARRY “SLICE” ROHRSSEN
THE SKINNY: The popular choice by many, Rohrssen would bring a traditional New York flavor back to St. John’s. The former head coach of Manhattan, “Slice” as he’s known in most circles, recruited the majority of the Jaspers team that won 21 games last season and finished third in the MAAC. While he was an assistant at Pitt from 1999-2006, Rohrssen single-handedly laid the foundation for both Ben Howland and Jamie Dixon to have successful careers by luring talents such as Chris Taft, Ronald Ramon, Carl Krauser, and Levance Fields to the Steel City. If Lavin adds “Slice”, the Red Storm would own the five boroughs and the New York metropolitan area.
Who do you think should replace Dunlap? Make your case in the comments below…