In a possibly huge blow to St. John's ability to compete in the Big East next year, returning freshman Dwayne Polee II will transfer from the St. John's program, as reported by Roger Rubin of the Daily News.
"I really enjoyed my experience at St. John's and I'm going to miss the staff and New York. Right now I feel it is best to be close to my family and help us get through a health issue," said Polee II.
Polee II played in all 33 games as the Red Storm's lone freshman, starting 27. He averaged 4.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 14.9 minutes per outing, shooting 45.6 percent from the field.
While we wrote that Polee doesn't really have a position - and needs to bulk up to bang a little in the Big East - Polee was the closest thing that the Red Storm had to a returning player, and the closest thing to a forward who could play down low. More on the reasons for the transfer and the impact, below.
Dwayne Polee was a late commit after Steve Lavin was hired, taking the place of Ron Roberts, who moved on to St. Joseph's. He was to be the first of many impact recruits from the West Coast, and others did follow - Amir Garrett, and Norvel Pelle, so far. Family reasons were stated - Roger Rubin of the Daily News cites Polee's sick mother as a cause for the transfer - but Dan at Johnny Jungle writes:
According to a source, the influence of Polee II’s father, Dwayne Polee Sr., was a major factor in the decision. The source says Polee Sr. was concerned about his son’s role on the team for this upcoming season and felt that another school would offer his son a larger role, as the focal point of the program.
Many of the recruits played Polee's position, which may have been a factor; San Diego State is supposedly one of the schools he is looking at.
It's hard to say this is a disastrous result, but it's certainly not good; Jakarr Sampson and Norvel Pelle will be pressed into action for more minutes than they might be ready for. The class is great, but the youngness of the team was already at historic proportions; St. John's will be far and away the youngest team in the nation, playing in multiple hostile venues next year.
His length and athleticism were assets, and we all hoped to see what a year of weight training and working out with the staff could do. Now, Malik Stith is the team's sole returnee off of the NCAA Tournament squad, and there aren't any pending big man recruits to take Polee's place. Though this DOES leave room for a transfer and for a pair of top 2012 recruits.
Steve Lavin gets to build his team from near scratch, but there are tough days ahead. Polee may have found himself giving up time to other players. His game was a work in progress on both ends. Good luck to Dwayne Polee and his best of health to his family, and may he find what he's looking for.
Dwayne Polee's statistics, in mostly tempo-neutral style (check out our earlier tempo-neutral primer for a refresher):
|Dwayne Polee II - All games
|Dwayne Polee II - Big East only