We have a definite soft spot for Dwayne Polee II (above). When we heard earlier this week that he was transferring, we were a bit perplexed. As we opined early on last season, Polee could be a 1 and done talent, only we were thinking NBA, especially after a few highlight reel dunks in the season opener. As it would turn out, there weren’t too many more of those moments for Polee, who, for the sake of appearances and what well may really be, wants to be closer to home for family reasons, a sick family member, we think.
Polee never really fit in here and that is a terrible shame, because his commitment to the program–the first major talent to sign on–helped St. John’s get the ball rolling in terms of buzz and recruiting, helping them land Norvel Pelle and nearly Remi Barry, other California kids who had a zillion options. Polee, a symbollic starter for a portion of the season, lost his claim to real minutes early on, after some uneven performances, bad shooting, and terrible decision making. But he talked the talk, and seemed to have confidence in the program. One knew as much after an awful Syracuse loss at the Garden, after which Polee spoke to the media about marking the loss and avenging it.
But it couldn’t have been easy for Polee, the only freshman, a guy from the left coast who was much heralded, to join a cliquey St. John’s team, with players who were probably looking at him like competition. There was a Pennsylvania clique and a JC clique, and there’s the lanky kid from Cali who may not have had anyone to bond with. Polee probably looked ahead a bit to next season, which was already becoming quite cliquey, and the cliques again did not involve him. Maurice Harkless, Jakarr Sampson (see his impressive highlights on www.youtube.com above), and D’Angelo Harrison all played on a national all-star team recently, and seemed like they were having a good time together, while tearing it up. Harkless and Sampson both have a bit of a position clash with Polee, as does Sir Dominic Pointer, who also played in that competition.
Pointer’s high school teammate, Dwight Meickle, has also skipped out on St. John’s, as Steve Lavin announced last month. Meickle, who is whispered to be only 6’6 and not 6’9, is probably doing the Johnnies a favor. The quality of recruit St. John’s is now typically in the mix with is well above the talent level of a Dwight Meickle, and we are sure that Lavin and staff will redistribute that scholarship and bring in a bigger talent. For 2012-2013.
Right now, as it sits, St. John’s has an extremely thin roster, with only 10 players signed for next season. One of whom, Nurideen Lindsey, the supposed starting point guard, may not be eligible for the fall. Of those 10 players, only 1 has NCAA Division I experience, and that’s point guard Malik Stith, who we made fun of all year for his lack of talent. So we find ourselves questioning St. John’s for next year, though they recently completed a coup by signing power forward God’s Gift Achiuwa.
It was probably never the best thing for the program to give out so many scholarships so quickly. Not when so many young kids want to wear the jersey. Was all the pub about the biggest and best class in St. John’s storied history a bad thing? Not at all. It was important in getting the program re-established. And so was Polee, who we are genuinely sad to see go. He’s a great kid, and we wish him well.
Meickle? We don’t think he woulld have played much, and we’d just as soon have somebody else. And from what we hear, with the attention Lavin’s staff is showering on Kyle Anderson, who at 6’8 can play 5 positions, and Ricardo Gathers, we think St. John’s would rather have better players. They might even get a better player in here to replace Polee, though we were content to sit with him and see his development, and hail him as the first to come.
We still will. Too bad it will have to be from afar.