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COLLEGE BASKETBALL NOTES

Polee, father of top recruit, gets USC job

August 24, 2007|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

USC's new director of basketball operations should sound familiar to those who follow Trojans recruiting.

He is Dwayne Polee, the father of Westchester High sophomore Dwayne Polee Jr., a guard who last year committed to USC before he had played a game for the Comets.

Trojans Coach Tim Floyd said he was not concerned that his most recent hire was the father of a top recruit "because I think he's more qualified than 90% of the assistants that come into college basketball based on his playing experience and what he can bring to the table for us at SC through his contacts in our area."

The Trojans would not have to use a scholarship on Polee Jr. because his father is a university employee. The team has a similar arrangement with sophomore guard Daniel Hackett, whose father, Rudy, is the strength and conditioning coordinator.

Polee was a standout 6-foot-5 swingman at Manual Arts High who went on to star at Pepperdine before the Clippers selected him in the third round of the 1986 NBA draft. He played in one game with the Clippers, which was the extent of his NBA career.

Floyd described Polee, 44, as an invaluable recruiting tool because of his background and personality.

"He was the No. 1 player in the United States coming out of high school," Floyd said. "He's the age of the parents of every young person we're recruiting in our region of the country, and they all know who he is. He played in the NBA. He's got a great demeanor, a great manner about him, and I felt very comfortable with him."

Polee called his hiring "a blessing" and said his job entailed making sure players attended class and didn't have any problems with their living quarters at USC.

Though Polee Jr.'s oral commitment will remain nonbinding until he signs a letter of intent, the elder Polee said his son was firmly committed to becoming a Trojan.

UCLA junior forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has led Cameroon to the brink of a berth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Mbah a Moute scored 20 points in Cameroon's 58-52 victory over Egypt on Thursday in a semifinal of the FIBA Africa Championship in Angola.

Mbah a Moute has averaged 14.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.8 steals and 3.3 assists in four games for undefeated Cameroon, which will play Angola on Saturday in the championship for the chance to win the tournament's automatic Olympic bid. Cameroon had only reached the semifinals once previously, in 1974.

All nine Big West Conference men's basketball teams are among the 100 that will participate in the sixth O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters series, Feb. 22-23.

Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and Pacific will play at home, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Long Beach State, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara will be on the road.

Matchups will be announced Feb. 4, and the lineup of the 14 games to be televised on ESPN's various channels will be announced a week later.

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

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