And then there was one veteran player left on St. John's basketball roster for the 2011-12 season.
Sophomore forward Dwayne Polee II today announced his decision to leave the Red Storm to return to his home state of California. Polee made the move for personal reasons related to health issues involving his mother.
"I really enjoyed my experience at St. John's and I'm going to miss the staff and New York," Polee said in a statement released by St. John's. "Right now I feel it is best to be close to my family and help us get through a health issue."
The family lives in the Los Angeles area, but it is believed Polee plans to enroll at San Diego State, which finished second in the Mountain West Conference last season, won the conference tournament and was a No. 2 seed in the West Regional of the NCAA tournament. By rule, he must sit out next season, but it's possible he will apply for a hardship ruling that allows him to play right away because of the need to move closer to his family.
"Dwayne is an outstanding individual with a bright future,” Red Storm coach Steve Lavin said of his first recruit at St. John's. "He has been a valued member of our basketball family. He leaves St. John’s University in good academic standing and we wish him well."
As a freshman, Polee started 27 games and averaged 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds, but he actually played a limited role of 14.9 minutes per game. His departure leaves backup point guard Malik Stith, a junior, as the only veteran upperclassmen returning next season.
The Red Storm graduated 10 seniors, and Lavin is bringing in a recruiting class that has been rated as the No. 3 such group in the nation. It includes several top wing players who would have challenged Polee for playing time as a small forward or shooting guard. At the moment, the recruiting class consists of seven freshmen and two junior college transfers, including one sophomore and one junior.