Coach Dunlap Makes "The Show"
Dunlap came to Adelaide in 1994 with big wraps and in his first season took the 36ers to the finals, losing in straight sets to the North Melbourne Giants. Dunlap built his team around superstars Rob Rose and Mark Davis and emerging talents such as Brett Maher and Chris Blakemore. His promotion of the young guys on a team with some club and country legends (Smyth, Mckay etc) ruffled plenty of feathers and caused lots of angst against him but there was no doubting his ability to identify and develop young talent. On the "Title Town" dvd there's plenty of 36ers legends who voiced their sadness over how they were treated during the Dunlap era and were forced to walk to keep their careers alive. It was a tough period for 36ers fans- we were excited by the new guys but hated seeing club legends being treated shabbily. I remember giving Dunlap some extra slack when Magic Johnson went out of his way to praise him in front of the crowd during a legends tour here in 1995. As we all know it didn't end well with Dunlap unable to deliver a title and favourites such as Blakemore and Rose also leaving town in the end.
I'd thought little of Dunlap until a few years back when I saw him on the Denver Nuggets bench and discovered he was an assistant coach. This didn't last long though as Dunlap returned to the college game and until this week was an assistant at St Johns.
All the ducks are lined up nicely for Dunlap to succeed as he's starting with a basket case of a team full of young athletes. He's a proven teacher and I'd imagine he'd try to move Corey Maggette and be left with a team full of mainly under 25's. Charlotte should play an exciting, attacking style of basketball and I'll be watching Dunlap and his young team closely.