March 30, 2011

Top 30 hoops prospect considering UA

University of Alabama basketball coach Anthony Grant looks as if he will only have two scholarships at his disposal to use for the 2012 class, so it's easy to see why the UA coaching staff may be a little more selective in recruiting this next year.

However, Devonta Pollard is one name that made an early impression on the Alabama coaches. He has held a scholarship offer from the Crimson Tide since last summer.

Pollard, a 6-foot-8, 200-pound star from Kemper County High School in Porterville, Miss., hasn't thought much about the recruiting process yet, but likes Alabama -- in large part due to the efforts of Grant and his staff.

"They have a great coaching staff," Pollard said. "Their coaching staff doesn't just want a group of kids to play ball, but they want a group of kids who want to do something with themselves and who want to go to school.

"They have a good relationship with all of the players, not just on the court but off the basketball court, too."

Pollard, who is ranked No. 29 overall in the country by Rivals.com, also has received offers from Auburn, Georgetown, LSU, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. He came to Tuscaloosa in February and watched as the Crimson Tide defeated Ole Miss.

"It went good," Pollard said. "I went to the game, and after the game they showed me the new facilities they were putting in and the new gym. The atmosphere at the game was great. I got a chance to meet (2011 signee) Levi Randolph."

With his high school season ove,r Pollard has had a chance to watch Alabama play more and has been impressed with the Crimson Tide's postseason run. UA advanced to the NIT finals after knocking off Colorado on Tuesday night.

"They've been playing Alabama basketball," he said. "They've been getting out and pressuring, running and gunning. They're really getting in your face on the defensive end, and they turn defense into offense."

That defense has been the staple of this year's Alabama basketball team, and Pollard can see himself fitting in to that type of culture. He also takes pride in his defense and understands how important it is.

"I believe that if you play good defense, that helps your team wins games," Pollard said. "If you play good defense, you're going to end up getting easier shots and not have to force anything. If you really look at it, defense wins games."

On the offensive end, Pollard has the ability to play both inside and outside. He said he prefers to play out on the wing, but compared his inside game to that of NBA star Kevin Garnett.

"My biggest strength is being able to do a little bit of everything," Pollard said. "If I have a big man on me, I can take him out and play like a guard. If I have a smaller man on me, I can post up."

As a junior at Kemper County, Pollard averaged 24 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots per game.

Reach Greg Ostendorf at greg@tidesports.com.

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