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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