Though one wonders what could have been with recruit Ron Roberts, who may just become something special, the signing of small forward Dwayne Polee has got some excitement to it for the St. John's Red Storm.
And it's a sign that Steve Lavin's positives are going to move the needle on the Red Storm talent base.
A nice get for Steve Lavin, but some people get a little excited about a raw player who was recruited by lower-level high majors (and also by Tim Floyd at USC). Polee needs a little work, according to reports, and needs to develop his basketball skills. Right now, he's a dunker with shot blocking skills. Video, below the fold.
Those run-jump skills are terribly impressive. And the player I would compare him to (from video) is Trevor Ariza, former UCLA player and Steve Lavin's last recruit - when at UCLA, Ariza was somewhat limited, but his combination of speed and hops made him a terror in the open court. Polee needs to get stronger, perhaps, to be Ariza. And a decent jump shot will allow him to terrorize opponents. Next year, Polee will have a chance to back up players at the 3 and 4, taking some of Anthony Mason Jr's minutes while he develops in lower-pressure situations, with a chance to start in 2011.
Let's clear a couple of things up:
- no bags of cash were exchanged (as far as I or the insiders know).
- moreover, no job was promised or given to Dwayne Polee Sr., as some angry commenters on newspaper sites in Oregon and Georgia seem to think.
It's not necessary. This is the best part of having Steve Lavin. He can put up his record in the things that count to kids who are thinking about their basketball futures against anyone in the country (except for Calipari and Roy Williams, and possibly Coach K and maybe Jim Calhoun). Lavin's list of NBA players is impressive, and still in the league. To believe that kids are thinking of simply winning a lot of games in college (which Lavin also did at UCLA) is foolish. College is a showcase for their abilities, and a place to hone their skills for the future, just as it is for artists, future business mavens, writers, and more.
In terms of pure great basketball, the fans have some things to be concerned about. But for a player looking toward the next level, Lavin's got a great record, and carries a reputation as a players' coach. If he can make some headway with a strong 2011 class, St. John's could really get rolling back towards national recognition.
The fact that Lavin caught a decent late-signee - and one out of LA - makes some sense. The man can sell himself, and might just succeed in selling St. John's as a coast-to-coast destination.