May 8, 2010
QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's head men's basketball coach Steve Lavin announced the signing of Los Angeles, Calif., forward Dwayne Polee Jr. to a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to join the Red Storm program for the 2010-11 season.
"I am elated to announce that Dwayne Polee Jr. has chosen to become a student-athlete at St. John's. Dwayne is from Westchester High School, one of the elite programs in the nation, whose graduates include Billy Knight and Trevor Ariza, who was my last recruit at UCLA. Dwayne is our first recruit here at St. John's, which really brings things full-circle," said Lavin. "Coached by Ed Azzam, Dwayne is well-schooled in fundamentals and in the ways of winning games. He is also a great competitor with an insatiable drive to improve his superior athletic gifts. The University, our coaching staff, our players and our fans share my enthusiasm and join me in welcoming this truly outstanding basketball player to our program."
Polee Jr., a 6-7, 190-pound high-flying athlete from two-time defending California state champion Westchester, was named the Los Angeles City Section Player of the Year after helping the Comets to a 32-3 record and their second-straight Division I title. A top 30 prospect according to recruiting services, Polee Jr. averaged 20.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game as a senior in 2009-10.
"I am so excited to be coming to St. John's, and I am really excited to help make The Garden an exciting place to be again," said Polee Jr. "Coach Lavin was very straightforward with me throughout the process, and I believe that he and the staff at St. John's can really make me the best player I can be."
A long, dynamic athlete with outstanding leaping ability, Polee Jr. is a tremendous talent on both the offensive and defensive end. The small forward/power forward is an excellent shot blocker, runs the floor with tenacity and has an uncanny ability to finish around the rim. As a senior at Westchester this past season, he displayed an offensive arsenal of floaters, mid-range jumpers, dunks and layups. With a near-40 inch vertical leap, he has actually been lauded as "high school basketball's best dunker" in several publications.
The son of 1981 Los Angeles High School Player of the Year Dwayne Polee Sr., Polee Jr. has an incredible basketball pedigree, as the two became only the second father-son tandem to earn such distinction in L.A. Polee Sr. played high school basketball for city champion Manual Arts in L.A. - and scored 43 points in the city title game victory over Crenshaw in 1981 - before playing for UNLV and Pepperdine and becoming a third round draft choice of the L.A. Clippers. Larry Kenon, the brother of Polee Jr.'s mother, Yolanda Kenon, played in the NBA for seven seasons.
"St. John's is getting a great player and a great person in Dwayne. He is one of the best athletes I have ever coached," said Westchester coach Azzam, who has mentored Ariza, Knight, Hassan Adams, Brandon Bowman and Ashanti Cook, among others, over his 31-year career. "Dwayne has excellent offensive skills and athleticism, but the best thing may be that he is still developing. In his next couple of years as a collegian, I believe he has a chance to be an All-American."