St. John's all-star staff nearly complete: Hicks and Dunlap

As reported in Johnny Jungle last week, and now in the New York Post, the official signing of assistant coach Mike Dunlap and Director of Basketball Operations Maurice "Mo" Hicks is expected early this week.

Both are expected to have a strong impact, and will round out what was promised - a dream team staff at St. John's. They might be sneaky all-stars; there are some excellent resumes in here. Take a look at the staff, after the jump.

+ Head Coach Steve Lavin had a successful run at UCLA (though not perfect), was quite a successful high-major recruiter with the Bruins. He returns after a number of years announcing games for ESPN. Some worries about how quickly he would be able to get back into the college game have been allayed by his successful recruiting of LA forward Dwayne Polee and his ability to get into a recruiting battle early for French forward Remi Barry (against UCLA and Arizona State). Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated just posted a profile of Lavin's process in deciding on his assistant coaches, some of which will be referred to below.

+ New assistant Mike Dunlap comes to St. John's with experience at Oregon and at Arizona most recently; he was also a candidate for head coaching jobs (the position with the Colorado Buffaloes, for example). But he has notable experience with the Denver Nuggets, and two national championships at Division II Metro State. Dunlap's well-known for his attention to detail. Check out some of his notes at Metro State; an interview with him while he was at the Denver school; more on Dunlap while he was at Metro State; and his last bio page at Oregon. Dunlap's wealth of experience with x's and o's will help Steve Lavin's approach to crafting his team and style on the east coast. Hopefully, he also has some western and international contacts to help fill the 2011 class' scholarships.

+ Already-hired assistant Tony Chiles comes from Drexel (Dragons bio) in Philadelphia; and previously, coached at Iona under Jeff Ruland and at Manhattan under Fran Fraschilla. Everywhere he's been, he's recruited the New York City talent that didn't go to St. John's or Louisville or other high major schools. He's been in the gyms, the New York City coaches know who he is. He also comes with an Ivy League education, and was mentioned in a list of CBS columnist Gary Parrish's "Ten Assistants Ready to Take the Next Step" (halfway down the page) in 2007, a list where 8 of the 10 coaches have become head coaches in the past 3 years. He will help St. John's new staff navigate the New York high school scene.

+ A former UCLA scholarship player under Steve Lavin, Rico Hines enters his first season as a collegiate assistant coach; he comes to the Red Storm from the NBA's Golden State Warriors. Hines comes with an impressive list of NBA players that he has trained over the years, from Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, to former UCLA teammate Matt Barnes, former UCLA players Baron Davis and Trevor Ariza - a bunch of pros. He has also worked with college level players. His breadth of experience in player development will be a draw for players who have dreams of going professional. An interview with Rico Hines, and a video. Rico Hines is from the fertile "DMV" recruiting area - DC/ Maryland/ Virginia, and may prove to have some contacts down there.

+ Mo Hicks is well known around the city with the New York Gauchos AAU program, but also from the Rice High School program that graduates excellent high major players, including Kansas State commit Shane Southwell, Kadeem Jack, Durand Scott at Miami (FL), Jermaine Sanders, and Connecticut's Kemba Walker. His Rice teams are known for player development and man-to-man defense, and Hicks' familiarity with New York City will help the Red Storm make more inroads with AAU programs. Five Boro Sports on their 2009 coach of the year.

+ Derrick Wrobel probably has the least press written about him, but has known Lavin for years when he worked at one of Steve Lavin's camps at UCLA. Wrobel worked under California coach Mike Montgomery, where he worked as Director of External Relations, managing staff, organizing summer camps, and serving as the liaison to basketball alumni; he also created an alumni game for the Golden Bears. He was also the Director of Basketball Operations at Arizona State under Rob Evans. Wrobel's job will include overseeing assisting with on-campus visits for prospective student-athletes, keeping track of Lavin's administrative needs, and other needed duties.

There are a few coaches that were missed out on - Manhattan's Barry Rohrssen, Dave Leitao (formerly of Virginia and DePaul), Book Richardson, who is currently at Arizona; but this is a pretty exciting staff. The summer will tell whether the staff is really paying out some benefits.

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