EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE men’s basketball Head Coach Brian Barone has added National Junior College Division II Player of the year Damarco “Polo” Minor (Harvey, Illinois) to the 2022-23 roster.
Minor led South Suburban College (Illinois) to a perfect 33-0 season, and the school’s first NJCAA Division II National Championship.
Following the season Minor earned multiple accolades culminating in his selection as the NJCAA Division II National Player of the Year and a first team NJCAA Division II All-American. The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) also named Minor as their Two-Year College Player of the Year today.
He was also named the NJCAA Region 4 Player of the Year, NJCAA Region 4 All-Tournament First Team selection, NJCAA Region 4 Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Minor is the second Junior College Player of the Year to sign with the Cougars under Barone. Courtney Carter also was the Division II Player of the Year while playing at South Suburban.
A 6-foot, 178-pound guard, Minor averaged 20.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game at South Suburban. He compiled 112 steals (2nd in NJCAA), shot 44.8% from the field and averaged 5.7 assists per game. Minor scored at least 27 points eight times during the season, including two 30-plus point outbursts.
During the NJCAA DII National Championship, Minor averaged 20.8 points and 7.0 assists per game. In the championship game, Minor scored 29 points and handed our eight assists in the win.
“Polo’s skill, competitiveness and approach fit perfectly with our ‘Find-A-Way mentality.'” Said Barone. “He comes from an elite, championship-winning program in South Suburban College. He was well-coached while playing under NJCAA DII national Coach of the Year John Pigatti. Polo’s ability to make game-changing plays on both ends of the floor will immediately help us compete for the championship in the Ohio Valley Conference. “
“From the moment I started the recruiting process with Coach Barone, I could tell the emphasis that he puts on player development and family,” Minor said. “I am very excited about the direction and culture of the program, and it feels like we are about to do something special here. I share Coach Barone’s championship vision for the program, and it is something that I feel like I can contribute to. There is a definite family atmosphere here at SIUE. “
“I am very excited for Damarco,” South Suburban Head Coach John Pigatti said. “He had a special season and this tops it off. SIUE is getting an exciting guard that can run a team, score and will play terrific defense. The Cougars got a great one in Damarco Minor.”
Minor attended Thornton Township High School before playing at South Suburban. He will have three years of eligibility remaining for SIUE.
“We are very excited to add Polo to our team,” Barone contnued. He will raise the intensity from day one. His ability to score on the offensive end is a welcome addition, but almost more importantly, he makes the players around him better with his communication and willingness to share the ball. He is outstanding statistically, but perhaps the most important number is 33-0 (South Suburban’s record) Simply put, Damarco “Polo” Minor is a winner. “