Monday, May 23, 2011

Polee Jumps Ship From Lavin's Ark

Citing health of his mother, Dwayne Polee becomes latest St. John's player to transfer out of New York. (Photo courtesy of New York Daily News)

The streak continues.

For at least the seventh consecutive year, at least one member of the previous year's St. John's University men's basketball team has decided to transfer before the opening tip of the next season; as Dwayne Polee announced his decision to return home after one campaign in Queens, indicating the health of his mother as the impetus behind his departure. Polee joins Quincy Roberts as the only Johnnies to leave under head coach Steve Lavin since his arrival over a year ago, as Roberts exited the program shortly after St. John's commenced its most successful season in recent memory; one highlighted by its return to the NCAA Tournament after nine years on the other side of the bubble.

"I really enjoyed my experience (at St. John's) and I'm going to miss the staff and New York," said Polee, who averaged 4.4 points per game while starting the majority of the 33 games played by the Red Storm. "Right now, I feel it's best to be close to my family and help us get through a health issue."

Polee was Lavin's initial recruit after the coach replaced Norm Roberts, landing the California prep star just several weeks after taking the job. The versatile swingman made quite the impact in his collegiate debut, scoring a career-high 16 points in a losing effort against St. Mary's; and prematurely ended his tenure as a Johnny on just as high a note by tallying a dozen points in the Storm's NCAA Tournament loss to Gonzaga. His imminent change of scenery will leave junior guard Malik Stith as not only the sole survivor from the Roberts regime, but also as the last man standing from last year's team; as the Johnnies will start fresh with nine new recruits in a group that has been regarded as the third-best incoming class in the country, but also the youngest incarnation of the St. John's Red Storm in the program's 104-year history.

Polee has not picked a new school yet, but the Los Angeles native has been rumored to have San Diego State at the top of his list. Regardless of whether or not he will be granted immediate eligibility via the NCAA hardship rule, he would be a major and welcome addition to an Aztec squad coming off its first-ever Sweet 16 appearance a year ago. Despite not looking like a prototypical power forward, Polee's athleticism and rebounding prowess would give coach Steve Fisher an unexpected replacement for outgoing star and likely Top 10 NBA draft pick Kawhi Leonard should the former Johnny take his talents there.

2 comments:

  1. Sorry about Polee. Liked watching him play. that's a hit for STJ. At least Lavin has brought in a slew of talent that can step in and fill the hole. It's the ones who don't - and we know who they are - that end up not being able to compensate.

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  2. It is a shame, Linda...Polee would have made a monumental leap this year being that he was one of only two returning kids from the tournament team a year ago and knew Lavin's system. You're right about the new recruiting class...it's the best in program history and Lavin has definitely demonstrated the ability to get them to come. Whether or not they can live up to the hype (as a St. John's alum and media member, I hope they can) will be what defines this team. Agreed on coaches that don't know how to bring in the talent, and they'll remain nameless here.

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