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Last wk in RITG: departing Polee + eligibility issues

Newsstand at 12th & Union, 1946Somehow, the Red Storm basketball program stays in the news, despite the late date on the calendar. It's Memorial Day weekend and intrigue still abounds with the program, with the Momo Jones transfer situation a dead issue and the other potential transfer in to the program, Ryan Harrow, gone off to Kentucky.

All the attention is a good sign; doesn't common wisdom say they only talk about you when you're compelling or threatening? The basketball program has become fascinating.

Meanwhile, the baseball team hopes to get back to the NCAA Tournament. Catch up with the road to the Big East Championship for the Storm, and watch the Johnnies baseball squad at Noon eastern on ESPNU.

Read on for a recap of the week's stories on the Rumble, including issues with Maurice Harkless, Dwayne Polee, Norvel Pelle, a recap of the Red Storm recruits in action, NCAA news on a rules change and their measures of academic success - as always, below the fold>>

Polee: The big news this week is that Dwayne Polee II is transferring from the St. John's program. He was going to be main returning player, poised to make an impact on the roster next year. Unfortunately, Dwayne Polee decided to transfer after classes were done - a bit of a late surprise. If the staff had known Polee would leave, would they have chased after Daouda Soumaoro harder? Soumaoro committed to Texas Tech. Would the Johnnies' staff have gone after other players?

Polee stated a sick relative (his mother) as the reason for leaving, but a squeeze in his potential playing time may also be the culprit. Johnny Jungle reports that San Diego State may be a landing spot for the athletic and talented Polee, who still needs to put on weight and improve his skill.

Maurice Harkless eligibility questions...:  St. John's is checking into the eligibility of Moe Harkless (he should be fine to play for the Johnnies).

After revealing that the Red Storm would not pursue Lamont Jones (no-mo Momo!) because he had been coached at Rice High School by Director of Basketball Operations Moe Hicks, Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog has been digging into NCAA Bylaw 11.4.2. The rule was crafted to ensure that college coaches couldn't hire coaches of influence from AAU, JUCO, or high school to fill non-coaching positions to get a prospect, the so-called "package deal".

A college staff has 3 official bench positions that are considered "coaching." Meanwhile, common positions like the Director of Basketball Operations and Graduate Assistant are administrative, and cannot coach from the bench, recruit, and more. This is an attempt to keep coaches from hiring influential people to unimportant/ trophy positions for get top recruits.

The rule is only about a year old, and does have some gray areas - like the definition of what "associated with a recruit" actually means. Since Moe Harkless played with the Gauchos, an organization that Moe Hicks is heavily involved with, the Red Storm compliance staff has to make sure that Harkless is cleared to play for the Storm. It seems to go counter to the spirit of the rule; Hicks and Harkless have no real relationship. Harkless played for the NY Panthers, went to school at Forest Hills, and runs in a different circle.

The Rumble will follow up on Harkless' status; he will e counted on to put points on the board for next year's Red Storm squad.

...and Norvel Pelle's possible academic issues: Norvel Pelle was rumored to be taking a extra prep year of school instead of coming to campus. He refuted the rumor quickly, but his academics have been known to be a question mark, so we will keep up with that if more details come. On a team with three players who could play in the paint, the loss of Pelle's size and agility would be a tough one to handle.

IS8 Championship: The 'Chip featured future Johnnies Sir'Dominic Pointer on the Sean Bell All-Stars and on Real Scout, Jakarr Sampson, D'Angelo Harrison, and Maurice Harkless, who was injured and didn't contribute much in the final. The Sean Bell All-Stars won (link includes an autoplay video of Dom Pointer's dunk on Sampson), but Sampson threw down a nasty dunk himself (again: autoplay video). Go to the Jakarr Sampson dunk and vote on which one is your favorite.

Men's basketball scholarship chart: To help you keep track of the men's team roster and available scholarships, we posted the basketball scholarship chart from this year until the 2016 season, where Jevon Thomas would graduate if he makes it to the Queens campus on schedule.

NCAA News - APR scores: We posted the APR scores for all of the Big East men's basketball teams. DePaul came out sparkling, with a perfect score. St. John's was in the middle of the pack.

NCAA News - charge arc under the basket: The NCAA implemented a rule that stated, much like in the NBA, that a player couldn't draw a charge right underneath the basket. Referees seemed a little arbitrary in enforcing that rule, but no longer; teams will be required to paint a 3 foot arc underneath the basket. Expect this no-charge zone to help slashing teams NOT get charged for offensive foul turnovers.

NCAA Baseball championship: The St. John's men's baseball team is in the Big East championship, hoping to defeat Seton Hall and move on to the baseball big dance. Look out for new writer Anthony Ramos' recap a few hours after the game this evening.