When SDSU takes on St. John’s in the Round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament this Friday in Charlotte, N.C, it will be a homecoming of some sorts for senior forward Dwayne Polee.
Polee played in 33 games with the Red Storm as a freshman before transferring to SDSU his sophomore year.
He even played for them in the 2011 NCAA Tournament when they were defeated by Gonzaga in the Round of 64.
“We played in Denver against Gonzaga, and I was so excited just to be in the NCAA Tournament,” Polee said Tuesday during a press conference. “Due to the altitude, and it was my first time playing in altitude, it was kind of a rough game and we ended up losing.”
Even though he’s playing a team he once had a close connection to, it’s just business as usual for Polee.
“I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself thinking about St. John’s,” Polee said Tuesday during a press conference. “I just want to go out and live in the moment of being in the tournament because there’s a lot of schools who aren’t fortunate to be in this position.”
Polee cited that the team had 10 seniors when he was a freshman and that they have a totally new “makeup” now.
One person who’s still there, though, is St. John’s coach Steve Lavin, who recruited Polee.
“I know they’ll hug and embrace one another,” Aztecs coach Steve Fisher said Tuesday. “But from the standpoint of impact and everything, we have to make sure Dwayne doesn’t get caught up in it, and I don’t think he will.”
Given that Polee has not been a member of St. John’s in over three years, his scouting report may not be as accurate as it once was. However, one thing certainly working in the favor of the No. 8 seed Aztecs is that one of St. John’s premiere performers, junior forward Chris Obepka, will be suspended.
Obepka was suspended for two weeks on March 16 by St. John’s for a violation of team rules. He is a key enforcer for the Red Storm, averaging a team-high 3.1 blocks per-game.
“It takes their eraser away,” Fisher said. “He’s blocked more shots than Skylar Spencer, and I’ve talked about the impact Skylar has had for us.”
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