There's no doubt that, in just one season manning the sidelines, St. John's head coach Steve Lavin has infused both enthusiasm and spark into a program that had been middling for much of the last decade.
He's also infused a bunch of young and scary talent, because if there's any major takeaway from Dwayne Polee II's decision to transfer out of Queens, it's that the incoming freshman class of the Red Storm may be capable of serving as entire rotation for Lavin in 2011-2012, never mind the massive roster turnover from the 2010-2011 squad.
Made yesterday, the Los Angeles native Polee II announced that he would be leaving the program, and will likely re-locate closer to home. His father's words were reportedly a major factor in the decision, telling a source that his son's role on this team was unclear. In other words, Polee was probably going to get squeezed out. The loss officially leaves Lavin with just one returning player for next season - reserve guard Mark Stith who logged only 12 minutes a game in 2010-2011.
But I doubt many tears were shed today, because Johnnies students and fans have the 3rd rated recruiting class to look forward to. Complete with nine commitments, six four-star recruits, and one kid sent to us from God, Lavin is quickly making his presence known and taking full responsibility for the wins and losses this team accrues.
As a fan of college basketball with no sort of allegiance to St. John's, Lavin's team has immediately become one of the most intriguing to follow next season. They're young - real young - and will probably win a lot of games they're not supposed to win because of their talent, but also show inexperience and lose a lot of games they shouldn't lose. I wouldn't wager on them, but I also wouldn't miss a chance to watch them play.