Posted by Jeff Borzello
RALEIGH, N.C. – It certainly doesn’t take long to see why Devonta Pollard is one of the fastest-rising players in the class of 2012.
Pollard, a 6-foot-7 forward from Kemper County (Miss.), immediately impresses due to his long and lean frame, and his eye-popping athleticism. But he’s more than just a talent on paper.
Need to see him make a play in the paint? Pollard outleaps everyone and finishes well above the rim.
Need to see him get other players involved? Pollard draws the defense and finds a wide-open teammate near the bucket with an excellent jump-pass.
Need to see him extend his game to the perimeter? Pollard knocks down a couple of outside jumpers with range.
Of course, with all of his talents, Pollard draws attention because of his versatility. He might be the most explosive leaper in the country, but his dexterity around the rim and ability to knock down jumpers make him a must-have prospect.
“I think of myself as a three man,” Pollard said at last weekend's Tournament of Champions, where he led the Southern Phenoms to the U-17 title. “I’m being recruited as a three.”
Among the schools recruiting him include Mississippi State, Alabama, Georgetown, Mississippi, LSU, Kentucky and Missouri.
Pollard insists he has no favorites, and will take his time with a decision.
“I want to take some more visits, then make a decision in my senior year,” he said.
While roundball is in his immediate future, Pollard said the factors that go into his college choice will include more than just the basketball program and coaching staff.
Academics are important to Pollard.
“I don’t want to just be good at basketball,” he said.
For now, he’s more than just “good” when it comes to the hardwood. Pollard is a lock to be ranked in everyone’s top 20 after the spring and summer.
While it’s a nice feeling, Pollard said the high rankings also motivate him.
“It’s good,” he said. “But it also lets me know that I have to work harder."
Photo: Meridian Star