UGA target Dwayne Polee commits to St. John’s (updated)

Distance didn’t end up being a factor for Dwayne Polee Jr., but he chose to go a different direction than Georgia.

The 6-foot-7, small forward from Los Angeles confirmed his commitment to New York’s St. John’s University on Thursday. Polee also considered the Bulldogs, Oregon, UNLV and UTEP, so staying in California was not a consideration for the L.A. City Player of the Year.

“I chose St. John’s because I felt that Steve Lavin and his staff could get me to the next level,” Polee told the AJC via text message Thursday.

The news first began to circulate Thursday via Twitter. Polee is scheduled to make an official announcement this afternoon in L.A.

Polee, a 6-foot-7 wing player from L.A.’s Westchester High, has been described as “the best dunker in high school basketball.” He averaged 21 points and 8 rebounds in leading Westchester to a 32-3 record and California Division I state championship.

Polee actually committed to Southern Cal as a freshman in 2007. His father, Dwayne Polee Sr., was hired as director of basketball operations by coach Tim Floyd the same year.

Floyd resigned from USC amid an NCAA investigation last summer. But Polee remained committed until December when he reopened his recruitment.

Georgia coach Mark Fox, who still has many West Coast connections from his time as Nevada’s head coach, pounced on Polee’s unexpected availability and was one of the first to offer him a scholarship. At one time the Bulldogs were thought to be his leader among his early favorites, including UNLV and UTEP, where Floyd is now coach.

But later Steve Lavin, of UCLA and ESPN fame, was hired as the new St. John’s coach and immediately entered the fray. So did Dana Altman, who was hired away from Creighton by Oregon. Polee postponed a scheduled announcement on April 24 in order to take a visit to Oregon.

Polee returned from that visit this past Monday and most recently was quoted as saying he’d make a decision by early next week.

Turns out he made it overnight Wednesday.

Asked about the Bulldogs and Fox, he said: “He’s a really good coach and they will be good this year.”

They would have been even better with Polee.

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69 comments Add your comment

Jose C-seco

May 6th, 2010
12:09 pm


Who cares

May 6th, 2010
12:12 pm

And I hear that Bucky Pillow is going to announce his 2024 choice once he finishes wetting his bed.

LeMay I or LeMay I not

May 6th, 2010
12:14 pm

Polee figured out UGA sports program is on a slide. Too bad that he didnt think much of the floundering fox.

Redcoat Kid

May 6th, 2010
12:16 pm

Great choice for him no doubt. It was still inspiring to see Coach Fox working the west coast so hard. Here’s hoping for a better season this year and getting some of that great home grown talent!

Bling and blang

May 6th, 2010
12:21 pm

UGa needs to recruit more blue collar corn fed guys. That’s in Football, Basketball and baseball. Too many prima donnas who want to do hat tricks and jersey swappin as they grab the lime lights which all it does is really make fool of themselves. Hey UGA recruit all home grown boys !

Dixie Clear

May 6th, 2010
12:22 pm

uga basketball….NOT!….fox will find out soon enough that top talent does not want to go to athens, georgia……he’ll be looking for a better job in a couple of years….


May 6th, 2010
12:25 pm

I agree with Who Cares!!!LOL…….anyway ST.J, sucks and that coach will be gone in 3 years. GA is on the rise and Coach Fox will bring in the recruits. betcha money on that.


May 6th, 2010
12:28 pm

Polee – Booooo. Lavin didn’t even do a good job at UCLA, but I understand that NYC lights might have lured you. Good luck, but I do not think you could argue that Lavin will develop you as well as Fox develops players. No way.


May 6th, 2010
12:34 pm

That does suck. Oh well, Good Luck young man! He’s probably one and done anyway.


May 6th, 2010
12:35 pm

Best of luck to the young man.

Any update regarding Marcus Thornton and his possible leanings to UGA ?


May 6th, 2010
12:38 pm

Come to UGA Marcus Thornton…. We will make a deep run in the NCAA tournament and Coach fox will help you get to the next level!!


May 6th, 2010
12:46 pm

Lavin is a Harrick disciple so the NCAA should look into this!


May 6th, 2010
12:49 pm

Well he was a long shot! But I appreciate the effort Coach Fox put into to recruiting the kid. He’s doing a fantastic job and sooner rather than later a lot of these big time recruits are going to start noticing the Georgia program if we can keep him.

Da Hood

May 6th, 2010
12:52 pm

How can UGA basketball be on a slide when it hasn’t been good in years?


May 6th, 2010
12:54 pm

Good luck to him, but if he wants to get to the next level, why pick St. John’s? I can’t think of the last NBA player to come from there. Not that any of the other schools among his finalist are pro factories, UNLV probably has the best track record with producing pros out of that group.


May 6th, 2010
12:59 pm

WE ARE … ST. JOHN’S! The sleeping giant has awakened. The Johnnies’ stink yet we beat the Bulldogs when we had the worst coach in Big East history by 10? Hmm … enjoy spring football and leave the hoops to the Big East!


May 6th, 2010
1:02 pm

Questionable decision, but good luck to him. Fox runs an offense that is played in the NBA, and he’s never been anywhere near an NCAA investigation. Anyone close to Harrick, hopefully learned from his mistakes!


May 6th, 2010
1:14 pm

Rather have Marcus Thornton than him anyway.


May 6th, 2010
1:19 pm

“the best dunker in high school basketball.”

Can he shoot free throws? If not, St Johns can have him.


May 6th, 2010
1:24 pm

“the best dunker in high school basketball.”
dosent UGA already have the best dunker in college basketball?


May 6th, 2010
1:28 pm

Acedog at least know your facts before you comment on a coach. for what its worth lavin reached the sweet 16 five out of six years. spanning from 97-02. Fox is a great coach but im sure lavin can hold his own. he helped develop barron davis who wadn half bad. and a handfull of others.such as Trevor Ariza (Houston Rockets), Matt Barnes (Orlando Magic), Dan Gadzuric (Milwaukee Bucks), Ryan Hollins (Minnesota Timberwolves), Jason Kapono (Philadelphia 76ers), and Earl Watson (Indiana Pacers).

Steve Lavin

May 6th, 2010
1:31 pm

I may not be able to coach my way out of brown paper bag but I can recruit with anyone this side of John Calipari.


May 6th, 2010
1:56 pm

you want to build a team you need players that are going to be in school for at least 3 yrs-that has been GaTech’s problem-great talent but they only hang out for a year

Ted Striker

May 6th, 2010
2:06 pm

Good luck to this player. Would have loved to see him at UGA, but if he feels St. Johns is the place for him, let it be.


May 6th, 2010
2:16 pm

Why the heck would Clarke Central let there HS boys B-ball coach go, after 20 years of service to the school and the community. What is up with Athens!!!!

Dawg Fan in Grayson

May 6th, 2010
2:30 pm

Ghost, what happen to the Big Least last year in the NCAA’s? I think I heard the fans yell…Overrated!!! across the nation during March Madness.


May 6th, 2010
2:33 pm

St.Johns, WOW, that’s a top notch program, don’t understand what he sees in them. can’t remember last time they won at anything.

Monticello Dawg

May 6th, 2010
2:50 pm

Dixie Clear, history disagrees with you. Outside of Tubby, UGA has had zero, zilch, nada, basketball coach leave of their own accord for a “better job.” I am sure you know UK is a special case. I will agree that if one of the top 3 college positions opens up, there is a slight chance Fox would bolt. Bad news for Dog foes, great news for Dog fans. We are about to become a fixture in the Big Dance.

Brian F.

May 6th, 2010
2:57 pm

The Big Apple came calling and he couldn’t resist taking a bite out of it. I’ll take Mark Fox over Steve Lavin anyday. Good Luck Dwayne. Your gonna need it.


May 6th, 2010
3:25 pm

Steve Lavin was a complete failure at UCLA and if you think you are better off with him, more power to ya kid. Good luck in the NIT.

told yall

May 6th, 2010
3:35 pm

At least ST john will make it to the NIT!! lol UGA is not ready to recruit with the big boys yet. Fox still has a decent class shaping up…I mean we are talking UGA basketball people.

Davey Boy Smith

May 6th, 2010
4:11 pm

Ole Lavin is as scummy as they come…let’s put two and two together…Polee, Jr kept waiting around, waiting around, then Lavin gets hired at St. John’s, Polee’s father suddenly resigns at USC and Polee, JR signs with St. John’s. Pretty obvious what was going on, and I will bet a large sum of money that Polee, SR is on the payroll at St. Johns within the next 18 months.

New Cars

May 6th, 2010
4:32 pm

Kid probably at where he had the best chance to play next year…We would have liked to have had him, but would rather have someone like the Thornton kid that might make it 3 years…Think Fox has us going in right direction

come on

May 6th, 2010
4:54 pm

slow down there dawg fans. rippin the kid for going to St John’s and saying why choose them there no good. look at your team there no good. that is like the pot calling the kettle black. u were like 6 or 7 games under .500. the better question to ask here is why go to uga they have not got anyone drafted in like 7 years


May 6th, 2010
5:07 pm

Who would seriously consider going to UGA? Sure UGA has a couple of decent big men right now but that was simply because they were overlooked by the top 60 programs in the land and UGA got lucky in having recruited them. Those kids are not like the Duke, UNC, KY or shoot even the GT top signees that come in play a year and head to the NBA. UGA will benefit by having each back for another season simply because they are not lottery type talent.

Second, how many of the UGA fanbase even knows what round ball is other than playing it in gym when they were 6-10 years old? There is a reason UGA struggles to get top recruits…UGA is simply a football above all others University! Not a dig – just a fact. If it is not played between hedges – Dawgs simply lose interest.


May 6th, 2010
5:27 pm

One only has to look to GA Tech to see what recruiting top-tier basketball players does. It does NOT guarantee they will be good as a team, that they will stay longer than a year or that they will develop in to better players in the college game. Coach Fox should be congratulated for going after this kid, and he WILL have the Dawgs in the mix for the next 10 years. We are proud to have him as our coach. You can’t win all the recruiting battles, but he has us in the game.


May 6th, 2010
5:43 pm

Too too bad
We’re al so sad. :-)


May 6th, 2010
5:54 pm

Give Fox one more year at most before he leaves UGA. No good coach will ever stay long in Athens. There are a lot of good reasons for this, and this is not going to change.

Davey Boy Smith

May 6th, 2010
6:00 pm

Let’s not get crazy here, nobody in their right mind has Polee as a potential lottery pick anytime soon. If his goal is to be a one-and-done, then UGA is much better off without him. He is a 3 year college guy.


May 6th, 2010
6:16 pm

Coach up some local kids. Hasn’t the UGA football been in the Top 10 in recruiting for years? The results without coaching speaks for itself.


May 6th, 2010
6:23 pm

Recent stability problems regarding Georgia basketball are a direct result of Tubby bolting for Kentucky, mediocre successors, and one corrupt SOB. Hugh Durham’s 17 seasons and 12 postseason appearances (5 NCAA and 7 NIT) suggest that the University of Georgia can be much better and a whole lot more stable as a program. Tubby’s two seasons suggest that, with the right coach, the Dawgs can achieve great things. I won’t deny that Georgia is first and foremost a football school. But that doesn’t mean that new traditions in BB can’t be created. I believe we have found a talented teacher in Coach Fox. Hopefully he will love the University as much as the University and it’s BB fans love him. If that relationship can be cemented, I think great things are in store for us. I understood Tubby’s desire to win a national championship when he bolted for Kentucky. Kentucky has a great BB tradition. But I truly feel that Tubby underestimated his ability create his own tradition at Georgia and how much the school and its fans truly adored him. I think a lot of us Georgia fans see Coach Fox in much the same way as we saw Tubby. And because of that we feel that the sky’s the limit for Georgia BB. Go Dawgs!


May 6th, 2010
6:30 pm

Hate to lose a good prospect like this, but we will know in 3 – 4 years
whether the young man was a player.
Key word for today class, is PROSPECT.


May 6th, 2010
7:13 pm

Once again Dick-see clear logs on with nothing important or worthwhile to add. But his name sure is appropriate.


May 6th, 2010
7:34 pm

Not too big of a deal when you look at his skills as a whole. He can dunk. He can dunk. He can dunk! Hey, did you guys know he can dunk. Didn’t see any highlight films of him lighting it up from more than a couple inches from the rim. Thornton should be a top priority for the Dawgs! He is a much more complete player.

Paul (You doesn't have to call me Johnson).

May 6th, 2010
7:54 pm

Big Blue.

Good luck to Kentucky this year. Hope they get some recruits that will stay a while. Butler was good this year because they played together as a team and wound up much deeper in the NCAA tournament than Kentucky. I believe Calipari is a great recruiter. He recruited enough talent at Memphis and Kentucky to win 5 National Championships ( He won None )
Tubby was a great coach. He took Ky to a National Championship with the Louisville Coach (Petrino?)’s players. Carolina and Dook seem to keep their players longer and working better as a team which is why they have won more National Championships than Kentucky lately.


May 6th, 2010
8:16 pm

Really believe we have the right coach. This will take a little time, but we’ll get there. This has felt like we were on the outside looking in for a while.


May 6th, 2010
10:47 pm

Why would anyone not want to play round ball at UGa? I’m flabbergasted.

Upstate Dawg

May 6th, 2010
11:06 pm

Everything happens for a reason….GT has had some great recruits but hasn’t done much with them. Give Coach Fox some support and with the talent already there, we can be a factor next year. Good luck to Polee in NYC.

Chuck UGA

May 6th, 2010
11:48 pm

LeMay I or LeMay I not = the village idiot


May 7th, 2010
12:11 am

Thats ok. Fox will get some good players. Fox don’t want the one and done (nba) like Coach Paul Hewitt at GT where the fans want PH gone.
Fox wants kid that want to win and be at UGA.