Last year, Alabama basketball coach Anthony Grant put together a top-five recruiting class, giving the Crimson Tide some national recognition. However, the class didn’t consist of a single McDonald’s All-American.
In fact, the last McDonald’s All-American to sign with Alabama was JaMychal Green, who just finished his senior year with the Tide.
Coach Grant is looking to change that trend this year with Devonta Pollard. At this point, Alabama has no signees or commitments for the 2012 class, but Pollard, a top-50 recruit and McDonald's All-American, lists the Tide among his favorites.
The Mississippi native has narrowed his list to five but he’s putting recruiting on hold this week to focus on Wednesday’s all-star game in Chicago.
“I’m very excited,” Pollard said. “I’m very honored to be able to go and play with those guys. There’s a lot of kids out there wishing they could be playing in this game, so it’s neat to be chosen to be one of those kids to play in it. It’s an honor.”
In the state championship game, Pollard finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks to help lead Kemper County High School to victory. He’s hoping for another memorable performance against some of the nation’s best players this week.
“I just want to go out there, have fun, and when I leave, I want everybody to know who I am.”
Before leaving on Saturday, Pollard did make some decisions involving his recruitment. First, he eliminated Kentucky from his list, leaving Alabama, Georgetown, Mississippi State, Missouri and Texas as his five finalists.
He also set up tentative visits to both Alabama and Georgetown for next month. He plans to take his official visit to UA on April 5-6, and is scheduled to make the trip up to Georgetown on April 15-16.
“I’m not going to do anything different on those visits,” Pollard said. “I’m going to go there, check out the campus, check out the coaching staff, see what they’re talking about and see if that’s the best place for me to go.”
Pollard has already taken official visits to Missouri and Texas, and still may take one to the home state Bulldogs in Starkville, before making a decision.
Mississippi State took a hit with Pollard’s recruitment when Rick Stansbury announced he was stepping down after 14 seasons as head coach.
“Ever since I was young, basically they were the first school that started recruiting me,” Pollard said. “They started since I was in the ninth grade. Just to grow that relationship with Coach Stansbury, he was a nice guy that I know. He had a nice family.
“The relationship we had wasn’t just a regular relationship. We talked more than about basketball. We talked about life, our families and how each other was doing. For him to be gone, that hurt pretty bad.”
Even with Stansbury’s departure, Pollard hasn’t eliminated Mississippi State from the process. He wants to wait and see who they hire to be the next coach first.
As for a decision, Pollard said he wants to wait, take all of his visits and talk it over with his mother, but he’d like to make it by the end of April.