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Polee’s transfer places onus St. John’s nine newcomers


St. John’s welcomes nine newcomers to its roster for the 2011-12 season. Hope they’re ready to play.

The Red Storm announced Sunday forward Dwayne Polee II will transfer, leaving them with one returning scholarship letterwinner, junior Malik Stith. It’s not the worst possible outcome – the newcomers make up one of the nation’s top recruiting classes and the Johnnies may have had trouble finding spot for all the potential recruits – but a little experience would’ve been nice.

Polee, a 6-7 win from California, averaged 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds last season, playing all 33 games and starting 27.

“I really enjoyed my experience at St. John’s and I’m going to miss the staff and New York. Right now I feel it is best to be close to my family and help us get through a health issue,” Polee said in a release.

So how does coach Steve Lavin replace 96.3 percent of the scoring and 97.8 percent of the rebounding from a 21-12 team? With the third-ranked recruiting class of 2011.

Six of St. John’s incoming recruits rate as 4-star players, not counting junior college forward God’s Gift Achiuwa (can’t write about the Johnnies and not mention God’s Gift). There’s someone to fill every position except for a natural point guard. Stith’ll likely get that spot to start unless D’Angelo Harrison or Phillip Greene can fill roles as combo guards. Even if none of them immediately become stars, it’s a group that’ll benefit by as much playing time as possible.

(If ex-Arizona guard Momo Jones does transfer to St. John’s, it’ll make the mix even more interesting.)

And who knows? They might even surprise a few teams by seasons’ end.

Follow me on Twitter at @MikeMillerNBC.