UNLV BASKETBALL:

New Mexico now in the mix for Polee, who will decide in early April

6-foot-7 wing says he is still wide open, will “most likely” take visit to Albuquerque before making decision

Image

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Los Angeles Westchester High forward Dwayne Polee Jr. joins the UNLV student section during a Nov. 28, 2009 game against Louisville at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Rebels upset the 16th-ranked Cardinals, 76-71.

Dwayne Polee 2008-09 Highlights

Click to enlarge photo

Los Angeles Westchester High forward Dwayne Polee Jr. is escorted to the UNLV student section during the second half of UNLV's game against Louisville Saturday, November 28, 2009 at the Thomas & Mack.

Those waiting feverishly for a collegiate decision from Westchester (Calif.) High senior forward Dwayne Polee will have to wait a little bit longer.

Probably a couple of weeks.

The 6-foot-7 wing, who last week was named the Los Angeles City Section Player of the Year by a local media panel, told the Sun on Tuesday night that news likely will come in the second week of April.

Polee led the Comets (32-3) to a second consecutive Division I state championship Saturday. His parents, Yolanda and Dwayne Sr., then made the trip up I-15 on Sunday morning and spent the day talking with the Rebels' coaching staff.

Rumors began to swirl late last week that he would be making an announcement soon after the final game of his high school career.

"There was no truth to that," Polee said. "My parents went down to UNLV to talk to the coaches, but nothing's really happened."

Polee averaged roughly 20 points, nine rebounds and two blocks a game this season for Westchester and capped his run as a prep baller by leading the Comets to a 63-56 victory over Newark Memorial in the Division I championship game in Bakersfield, Calif.

"It did mean a lot," he said of his Player of the Year honors. "But at the end of the day, I was just happy to have a good senior year and win a state championship."

He's not short on potential suitors at the next level, but is down to deciding between four programs — UNLV, Oregon, Georgia and New Mexico.

He added that, right now, there is no leader among that group for his services.

New Mexico, which won a school-record 30 games this season under third-year coach Steve Alford and won the Mountain West Conference regular-season title, is the latest addition to that list. Polee said that Alford and his staff began pursuing him within the last month.

Polee also said that he will "most likely" take a visit to see the campus in Albuquerque before coming to a final decision.

His official visit to UNLV was in late November, when he watched the Rebels knock off then-No. 16 Louisiville at the Thomas & Mack Center, 76-71.

New Mexico potentially could have several open minutes for the taking next season.

The Lobos lose just one player — senior forward Roman Martinez — to graduation. However, they could also be without junior guard/forward Darington Hobson.

A Las Vegas native, the MWC Player of the Year and third team AP All-American, Hobson said in a Monday press conference that he is still 50/50 on whether to test the NBA Draft waters.

Martinez and Hobson were the only Lobos to average more than 30 minutes per game this season.

Alford already has a relatively stacked recruiting class set to head to campus next season. On top of the addition of 6-foot-8 UCLA transfer Drew Gordon, who will be eligible to play at the end of the fall semester, the Lobos have 6-foot-10 center Alex Kirk, 6-foot-7 forward Tony Snell and 6-foot-2 shooting guard Kendall Williams — a former UCLA commit — lined up.

UNLV still has one scholarship open for next season, as it returns all five starters from a team that went 25-9 and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years. Of the 11 members of UNLV's regular rotation this season, nine will be back, plus the Rebels will benefit from the addition of 6-foot-8 Kansas transfer Quintrell Thomas and 6-foot-11 redshirt freshman Carlos Lopez.

The coaching staff's other main target to fill that spot is Findlay Prep guard Cory Joseph, who Rivals.com ranks as the No. 7 recruit in the 2010 class. He can be seen on ESPN at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the McDonald's All-American game, played in Columbus, Ohio. Joseph then will re-join the Pilots in Baltimore in time for this weekend in the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational.

Joseph is still considering — in no particular order — UNLV, Minnesota, Villanova, UConn and Texas.

For more on this story as it develops, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels.

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  1. Well not the news I was expecting.....but, take your time and make the right decision, DP.

  2. LV is a short trip up from LA. Great for LA players. They get to experience life away from home, but family still gets to see them play a lot. And LV is much closer to an LA vibe than New Mexico.

    Hope this young man decides to be a Runnin' Rebel. Sounds like he would be a nice fit. With four seniors leaving next year, playing time will be there very soon, especially at his position.

    Going to be fun seeing what happens with the four scholarships available next season. Nice to see the Rebels getting a solid early verbal for 2011 and in the running for some high caliber players. U-N-L-V!!!

  3. I hate Alford.

  4. I hope New Mexico doesnt snake him. They only recently started to recruit him so obviously he wasnt on there top list early on. I really hope Polee decides on UNLV.

  5. Alford hater since 87'

  6. our biggest recruiting tool right now is all of our So Cal players already on the team. If he gets along with them and has some prior freindships, then we will have an advantage. Plus the new BBall practice facility will be so sweet

  7. Don't let NM fool you Polee, they gonna have an off season if Hobson goes, and now no range without Roman. Come play for winners at UNLV.

  8. And New Mexico started pursuing Polee all due to a misprint that said New Mexico was one of his final choices. Ridiculous.

  9. Am I the only person who finds it strange that Kruger has difficulty landing a good recruit with the exception of Marshall. A lot his succes was built on players he didn't recruit ie: Wink Adams. The only outstanding players appear to be transfers. The only two that averaged over 10 points a game Willis and Stanback. Bellfield is decent, but is similar to Wallace in that he might win a couple of games for UNLV then disappear. What are the issues? I wish the staff would ask that question. NM, are you kidding me? Do they really think Alford won't jump ship the minute he gets an offer from a power confrence school? Maybe it is Kruger's inability to teach big men that bothers Polee or maybe the 4 guard offense. Either they learn on their own or they turn into Santee's. It is pretty ridiculous considering the tournay appearences that recruits don't want to come here. After his visit last year Polee seemed ready to commit, what has changed?

  10. If it comes down to looks of a campus Polee willpickNew Mexico

  11. Sorry Rebs, but it would be pretty awesome if Alford is able to snatch this guy from Kruger. Oh and for you haters, Alford is in discussions for a long extension and has made it clear that he intends on staying at UNM. Why not? Top 10 ranking, out recruiting all of the MWC schools and having no problem recruiting from Texas and Cali. Dunning and Williams will be McDonalds all americans when its said and done.

  12. Not sure why Oregon is still on the list considering they do not even have a coach at this time. Would love to have Polee join us but if he opts to go elsewhere we are still 11-12 deep and that means more minutes for our returnees and Lopez and Thomas. Either way it will work out.

  13. BTW go_rebels Kruger DID recruit Wink. Kruger's first year here was 2004-05. Wink's freshman year was 2005-06.

  14. The bottom line is UNLV don't need McDonald's All-American players. Northern Iowa, Saint Mary's and Butler can win games with their 2 or 3-star recruits. It's about coaching not about having bunch of 4 or 5-star recruits. Lon Kruger is a genius when it comes to coaching.

    Players lost on UNLV after these seasons:

    2005-2006: Louis Amundson, Dustin Villapigue, Jason Petromoulx, Ricky Morgan. (Lost 4 players after the season)

    2006-2007: UNLV made it to the NCAA. Wendell White, Kevin Kruger, Gaston Essengue, Michael Umeh and Joel Anthony. (Lost 5 players after the season)

    2007-2008: UNLV made it to the NCAA. Curtis Terry and Corey Bailey. (Lost 2 players not including Matt Shaw when he redshirted)

    2008-2009: UNLV to the N.I.T. Wink Adams, Rene Rougeau, Joe Darger, Mareceo Rutledge, Rob Ketchum. (Lost 5 players after the season)

    2009-2010: UNLV made it to the NCAA.

    Look at the trends from these previous seasons. UNLV made the NCAA Tournament the following seasons when they lose a lot of seniors/players after. Kruger can bring UNLV to the NCAA Tournament the following years even if he loses a lot of his leading scorers and seniors.

  15. Kruger can bring UNLV to tourney. Yeah, but he can't win the MWC and isn't even the best team in the conference. Bottom line is SDSU, Utah, and UNM are out recruiting Kruger. We have lost two straight MWC tourneys on our own floor. We lost in the first round of the NCAA Tourney.

    Very little satisfation when Kruger blows off Hobson, Green, Malcolm Thomas, just to name a few and other schools are beating us with players that wanted to come here. Mediocrity.

    Yes Wink was Kruger's first recuit on 9/2004,. It was Umeh I was thinking of. He was a Spoon recruit.

    The only reason UNLV got in the tourney this year was because of other teams records. Well I have bad news all those MC D's freshman will be going to the tourney every year while we sit here wondering if we are going, if something isn't done about the recruiting. We have zero recruits for next year, one redshirt freshman, and one transfer sophomore. This team cannot rebound, is physically weak, and will continue to disappoint.

    By the way we are 1-5 against SDSU over the prior 2 years, 2-3 against Utah, 2-2 against New Mexico, and 3-2 against BYU. So against the top 4 in our conference we are 8-12. Obviously some people are blinded by us beating mediocre teams and getting into the tourney by the skin of our teeth. Something definitely needs to change, like recruiting, because the so called coaching isn't getting it.

    So to the guy who presented his micro tourney data, read this and defend Kruger and the fourth best team in the MWC. Mediocre.

  16. Actually 4-1 against BYU in the last two years, but I understand your point.

  17. How bad can Kruger be as a recruiter? This is embarrassing. I really want to see what excuses Ryan Greene and the rest of the Kruger worshippers have for us when Alford steals this kid and Joseph goes somewhere else.

    As always, Lonnie boy can't land any type of elite talent. What a joke this guy is when it comes to recruiting.

  18. Go_Rebels, UNLV can't win the MWC every year. Not gonna happen. Basketball is a game of match-ups, UNLV won't beat all very good teams in the Mountain West twice or three times in a year. Everytime they say it would be a rebuilding year for UNLV they make it to the NCAA Tourney (2007, 2008 and 2010). If Steve Fisher and Steve Alford are very good recruiters, I would say Lon Kruger is the best recruiter in Los Angeles area in the Mountain West. Kruger can recruit top 20 players in California and Los Angeles. Don't forget Los Angeles schools WESTCHESTER and FAIRFAX are two of the top teams in the country when Shaw, Stanback and Bellfield played there. Fans are just too demanding on their college basketball teams today in recruiting.

  19. UNLV's record vs. the conference isn't an indictment against Kruger so much as evidence that the conference is good and getting better.

    The fact that the conference is good is great for all of us, especially those of us that got to enjoy the tourney semi-finals at the Mack this year. That sold out night featured four excellent teams with a ton of talent. And all of that talent has been recruited by coaches selling schools that are harder to find on TV than cricket matches featuring the Bangladesh B Team.

    As for Kruger, I'm a believer that he's taking a measured and ethical approach to building the program. Every year the talent has improved, with next year's team one that'll crack the top ten. I'd bet on that. And while the improvements haven't been meteoric like a Calipari produces, I'd also willing to bet that KU ends up on probation because of him.

    As for New Mexico, good for them and good for UNLV that Alford is building a strong program. That makes the games competitive and engages even more fans. As I mentioned earlier the conference tourney was a blast, and a big reason why where the thousands of passionate Lobo fans that made the trip.

  20. Las Vegas top high school players since 1999:

    Kevin Gaines (Class of 1999 - Clark High School) signed with Michigan. Nevada Player of the Year.

    Demetrius Hunter (Class of 1999 - Cheyenne High School) signed with Georgetown and transferred to UNLV after his sophomore year.

    Marcus Banks (Class of 1999 - Cimarron Memorial High School) played in Dixie College and UNLV.

    C.J. Watson (Class of 2002 - Bishop Gorman) signed with Tennessee.

    Lorenzo Wade (Class of 2004 - Cheyenne) signed with Louisville and transferred to San Diego State after his freshmen year.

    Harvey Perry (Class of 2005) signed with Washington

    Marcus Lawrence (Class of 2006 - Bishop Gorman) signed with UNLV. Nevada Player of the Year.

    Jonathan Tavernari (Class of 2006 - Bishop Gorman) signed with BYU.

    P'Allen Stinnett (Class of 2007 - Palo Verde/Brewster Academy) signed with Creighton.

    Billy White (Class of 2007 - Green Valley) signed with San Diego State.

    Hank Thorns (Class of 2007 - Valley High School) Signed with Virginia Tech.

    Michael Loyd (Class of 2007 - Palo Verde High School) signed with BYU.

    Elijah Johnson (Class of 2009 - Cheyenne) signed with Kansas.

    Anthony Marshall (Class of 2009 - Mojave) signed with UNLV. Nevada Player of the Year.

    Demetric Williams (Class of 2009 - Cheyenne) signed with Wichita State.

    ALL OF THESE PLAYERS WERE RECRUITED BY UNLV.

  21. Recruits aren't all that every time (Hamga). Kruger does a fine job recruiting I think, and I'd actually rather get a transfer than a green freshman most of the time because you know what you are getting instead of rolling the dice on someone transferring to the college level. Say what you will, but Kruger develops players quite nicely into TEAM players. Everyone contributes.

  22. Same shhhh... different day.

    High school junior Grandy Glaze makes go_rebels sound like an idiot. "Kruger has difficulty landing a good recruit"

    NBA big men Louis Amundson and Joel Anthony also make go_rebels sound like an idiot. "Maybe it is Kruger's inability to teach big men"

    oh and I love this subjective gem, "Bellfield is decent, but is similar to Wallace in that he might win a couple of games for UNLV then disappear." wow, since you know everything about basketball, recruiting, and developing big men that must be true. Get real!

  23. Trevon Willis and Derrick Jasper were recruited heavily and offered scholarships by John Calipari when he was a coach at Memphis. Both of them are Class of 2006. Steve Fisher also takes transfers, he got two right now from Pepperdine and Lorrenzo Wade from Louisville. Lorrenzo Wade played from 2006-2009 at SDSU. Transfers would at least play 2-3 years more of college basketball.

  24. The MWC is on the verge of becoming a legitimate "true major"-level conference. (I know in the past the MWC fancied itself a major conference but comeon really?)
    With the success of TCU in football and the overall improvement in hoops, recruiting has become easier and more difficult. Easier, in that we (UNLV) have a larger pool to draw from (LA and Vegas), more difficult in that the opposing MWC schools are becoming attractive and able to steal these recruits from us (Billy White, Hobson, Lloyd Jr, Gordon, etc.)

    I would still take Kruger over a Calipari-type that just recruits 5 star kids who go to the NBA, Give me kids that will stay four years and play as a team. The Final Four participants this year are examples of teams that employ a team-first attitude, which is an attitude that is not lacking in the Kruger UNLV era, at least in my observation.

    Let Alford have the athletic recruits, I'm still convinced he is a below average coach. (Blown out by Washington? Seriously?)

    Kruger is doing a great job, and we will continue to have success as long as he is here. I consider last season a huge success, one lucky 3 p'er from a sweet sixteen(yes, we would have beaten Kansas if they played like they did against UNI), despite having our big men redshirting. Next year will be very interesting.

    BTW, did anyone see Cory Joseph in the MCD AA 3 point skills contest? Pretty impressive.

  25. Before totally ripping Kruger on recruiting, let's see where Polee and Joseph actually sign. I will go on record and say we sign Polee and lose Joseph.And who cares if you win the league? As long as the league keeps getting stronger (it is) the only thing that counts is finishing in the top 4 or 5.

  26. Steve Fisher and Lon Kruger are taking a lot ot transfers now. They are in a battle of recruiting transfers. Kruger was a able to get transfers from big time programs so far.

    Steve Fisher's San Diego State transfers:
    Brian Carlwell - University of Illinois
    Jason Deuthchman - Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    Tyrone Shelley - Pepperdine
    Malcolm Thomas - Pepperdine/San Diego City College
    James Rahon - Santa Clara

    Lon Kruger's UNLV transfers:
    Trevon Willis - Memphis
    Derrick Jasper - Kentucky
    Chace Stanback - UCLA
    Quintrell Thomas - Kansas

  27. I am not sure I would take Kruger over Calipari because Coach Cal will get teams to the sweet sixteen, elite eight, final four etc every year. The big difference is that Coach Cal is a renegade. He has had one final four vacated and about to make it two when the Memphis investigation is completed. I would love the on the floor results but hate the controversy. Coach Kruger has had no problems with the NCAA and that is worth alot. I am hopeful that the recruiting will continue to get better and we will continue to be a player nationally. It is tempting sometimes though to dream about seeing guys like Wall, Bledsoe, and Cousins in Rebel red.

  28. When Lon Kruger was a coach at Illinois, he signed three straight "Illinois Mr. Basketball Players" in 1997-1999. Sergio McClain (1997), Frankie Williams (1998) and Brian Cook (1999). Kruger heavily recruited Anthony Marshall and Elijah Johnson, the two best players in Las Vegas and in the state of Nevada last year. Both Marshall and Johnson wanted to play for UNLV but with only one scholarship available left Marshall signed with UNLV and Johnson signed with Kansas. So Go_Rebels stop criticizing Kruger about recruiting locally and letting other coaches steal some Las Vegas players. Not all Los Angeles area prospect players will play for UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount or San Diego State. Not all Las Vegas area prospect players will play for UNLV.

  29. Front page espn basketball page: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/tournament...

  30. thanks for the good read Sofa!

  31. @ Dev, I had posted quite a lengthy post and it got taken down on there. I'm assuming because I was trashing the NCAA and former UNLV administration (Maxson). Go figure.

  32. Transfer ball players sometimes help a great deal Tre is a good example.

    I don't hate Alford He was a fine player for Bob Knight at Indiana.

    Steve proves he can coach.

    Yes New Mexico got beat badly by Washington but they were ranked much higher than our Rebels

  33. Carlos Lopez (Class of 2009) and Grandy Glaze (Class of 2011) were heavily recruited and offered scholarships by West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. Hard to believe West Virginia is playing in the Final Four this year. I'm thankful that Lopez and Glaze chose to play for UNLV, a lot of winning coaches were interested on these two players. Now we know Lon Kruger is challenging other very good coaches in recruiting.

  34. Hopefully the youngster purchased that Rebels sweatshirt with his own money and was not a "gift".

  35. Sweatshirt's nothing compared to what's in the bag Alford just brought to the table ;)

  36. One point that I absolutely love about Kruger's recruiting is that he is 100% clean. There has not been a whisper about breaking rules since he arrived on campus. I think we are almost fully recovered from the Bayno recruiting rollercoaster and sanctions. Coach Spoon was another absolutely clean coach and did a great job of righting the ship.

    I loved Lopez's energy in the pre-season, he reminds me a lot of Louis Amundson. I hope he puts on about 50 more pounds of muscle and Bryce loses another 30 pounds of fat.

    Any updates on DJ's knee would also be greatly appreciated.

  37. Kurt Davis and Cameron Jefferson both will play football for UNLV this Fall. According to their profiles, they're very good basketball players too and might join as walk-ons for Lon Kruger to play basketball for UNLV. Kurt Davis is 6'6" and Cameron Jefferson is 6'7" and it would be awesome to add these two athletes to the basketball roster. Kruger produced reliable walk-ons like Curtis Terry and Rene Rougeau.

  38. Ryan,

    Can you get us an update on the Corey Joseph situation? His season is over, and I believe it was stated he would make a desicion soon.

  39. Ok, it's early april now, Come on recruits!

  40. what's the word??? April is almost over.