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State of the Union: updates on St. John's Assistant Coaches

Updates on the coaching staff.

- The previously-mentioned hire of former Drexel coach Tony Chiles is official.

- Three more assistant coaches have been mentioned in connection for the assistant coaching jobs at St. John's. The hot new name is Maurice "Mo" Hicks, and he is rumored to be leaning towards taking a job at St. John's. Mo Hicks runs the powerful and talent-laden NY Gauchos AAU program in New York City, a squad that includes uncommitted forward Kadeem Jack (2010) and McDonald's All-American Doron Lamb (2010) and touted guard Omar Calhoun (2012), among others who would be great Big East-level recruits. He also is the head coach at Rice High School, a Catholic league (CHSAA) power that produced players like Connecticut's Kemba Walker, the aforementioned Jack, and Shane Southwell.

Hicks would supposedly come in as the (well-paid) Director of Basketball Operations, and it would be a real coup - he has a strong name around the city, knows talent, and can actually coach a bit. Many school have tried to bring him onto their coaching staffs; his hire would get the local players excited. LF Ball on Hoops is disappointed in some of the names bandied around. Maybe this would get him excited (LOL, as he would write). I feel Mo Hicks is a better name than Ron Nacleiro, who seems to be off-putting to schools despite his great HS pedigree.

- Steve Lavin's former player Rico Hines has come up as a possibility (though it was reported as a close-to-done-deal). He has spent the intervening years training players such as former teammate Matt Barnes (who he got into fight with at UCLA) and working with the Golden State Warriors training staff.

- The big fish (in my eyes) is Mike Dunlap, previously mentioned on this site. He seems to have great ability, and has been a head man (and championship winner) at a Division II school. And as the coaching changes continue to be filled, there are openings at schools that might consider him for a job. At Oregon, he's waiting to see how things shake out... and the school is finding out that money won't always bring in the best coaches. With the school looking at former NBA guys like Terry Porter and retreads like PJ Carlesimo... Dunlap is looking better every day as a head coach of the Ducks instead of overpaying for a bigger name.

Moreover, the opening at Wake Forest University will have an effect, if the school hires current Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik as rumored. Again, Dunlap coached a Division II winner in Denver, and the Buffaloes could look his way if they don't go with current Buffaloes assistants.

(By the way: Bzdelik hasn't actually been very successful in the NBA or at Colorado (a fine compilation of his record here), though he had 2 good years with Air Force and is regarded as a good x's and o's/ scheme guy. But at 57, I'm not sure there's room for growth. The Buffs did have a decent year scoring the basketball, but their defense was pretty bad.)

For St. John's, the waiting game continues for Dunlap, as the waiting game continues for Wake Forest and Oregon. Hopefully this long offseason of change for NY-area coaches will leave the city with better basketball than the NCAA-Tournament-free NY scene since 2006.

UPDATE: Jon Rothstein reports that Scott Abudato, recently of Seton Hall, had a second meeting with head coach Steve Lavin, and will meet again this week. I am glad Lavin is taking his time to meet with many different assistants to round out his staff; being out of the game for a few years will mean that he needs to get to know his assistants before asking St. John's to hand them a contract.