The Alabama coaching staff scored a huge victory today by signing Devonta Pollard, a top-25 rated player from Mississippi. Pollard was Mr. Basketball in Mississippi and was also selected to the coveted McDonald's All-American team. The final schools in the mix were Missouri, Texas, Georgetown and LSU who made a late run at Pollard.
Admittedly, when I heard that LSU was in the final mix of schools, I felt that Pollard would sign with the Tigers due to the presence of assistant coach, Robert Kirby, who has been recruiting Pollard for several years. I am happy to be wrong in this instance.
Pollard should be able to provide an immediate impact to the team due to his versatility. Like Tony Mitchell before him, Pollard is a dynamite athlete who knows how to finish in the open floor and, like Tony, he also has the ability at 6'7, 200 lbs to play around the rim. With some question marks facing Alabama in the frontcourt next season, Pollard's ability to finish and defend around the rim will be welcomed.
Depending how things shake out, Pollard has the talent to be a starter in his first season. It will be interesting to see how Bama chooses to play him. He's a natural small forward, but Bama may choose to play smaller and play him at the 4 as they did with Tony Mitchell and sometimes Rodney Cooper this past season. Assuming the perimeter game improves and guys like Jacobs, Gueye and Engstrom continue to improve, Bama should be just fine next season.