Why A.J. is the ideal CofC hire

Former College of Charleston basketball star Anthony Johnson gives instructions to campers last week during his "Hoopin' With AJ" basketbal camp at TD Arena. (File/Brad Nettles/Staff)

Concerned about Anthony Johnson's lack of coaching experience when considering candidates for the College of Charleston's infamously vacant head coaching position in the wake of Doug Wojcik's official dismissal Tuesday?

Not convinced that the former Cougar and NBA point guard - despite zero minutes wearing a suit on the bench - is the right man to get fans back into TD Arena and eventually win games?

Consider a couple of names.

Kevin Ollie.

Fred Hoiberg.

Like Johnson, Ollie, 41, played in the NBA for 13 seasons. He served for two years as a UConn assistant coach before taking over for Jim Calhoun in 2012. Ollie last April in his second season as a head coach led the Huskies to an unlikely NCAA championship.

Not bad for a new guy.

Hoiberg, 41, played in the NBA for 10 seasons. Four years ago, he took over as head coach at his alma mater without any coaching experience and has led Iowa State to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Hoiberg was named Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2012. Iowa State won the Big 12 Tournament in 2014 and went on to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.

Johnson is more than aware of Ollie and Hoiberg, paying careful attention during his current tenure as a scout for the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans.

"I knew that Fred got the opportunity at Iowa State without coaching experience," Johnson, 39, said Tuesday from his home in Atlanta. "So I've followed him closely and studied his style of play. I've had conversations with Fred. And with Kevin Ollie, I've talked to him, too, and I remember competing against Kevin and Fred for most of my time in the NBA."

Ollie and Hoiberg are alma mater models for Johnson's potential success.

More names:

Lenny Wilkens

Doc Rivers

Rick Carlisle

Byron Scott

Stan Van Gundy

Avery Johnson

Randy Wittman

Wilkens, Rivers and Carlisle won NBA titles. Wilkens is in the Hall of Fame.

Those are just some of the coaches Johnson played for in the NBA. A pro career including tutelage from half of those guys would be impressive.

"Being a cerebral player, all of my coaches from Little League up to high school and college and at the professional level had an influence on me," said Johnson, a graduate of Stall High School in North Charleston. "They weren't always positive things but from the great coaches, I learned great things."

One more great coach: John Kresse.

The College of Charleston named its home court for the man who led the Cougars to four NCAA Tournament appearances and two NIT trips. Johnson played a big role.

"Coach Kresse is my mentor," Johnson said. "He's the best. But, for the most part, the coaches I played for were all great managers of people and egos. I feel very confident that I can be of that caliber as a head coach at the College of Charleston."

Johnson will be smart enough to hire a good coaching staff balanced with teachers and recruiters.

Maybe he isn't Kevin Ollie.

Or Fred Hoiberg.

But Johnson doesn't have to win a national title or advance to the Sweet 16. He just has to heal the program while gradually improving.

It's a good-value risk with high-ceiling potential.

Johnson will enter to applause. If he leaves the College of Charleston too soon - like, to take a better job - that's a much better problem for the school to have than its recent unpleasantness.

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff