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June 25, 2012TUSCALOOSA | Anthony Grant knows more about what his University of Alabama basketball team has lost since the end of the season than what it's gained for next season.
After all, the skill sets of players like JaMychal Green and reserve Charles Hankerson were known commodities, and incoming freshmen don't always make an easy transition to the major college game. Nonetheless, UA's third-year coach is heavily anticipating the start of new signee Devonta Pollard's career.
"Devonta is a young man we have been recruiting for quite a while, almost ever since I got here," Grant said. "He has a chance to be a major player for us. He brings variety in terms of his skill set. He can score in different ways, can effect a game defensively and play multiple positions. He's a great teammate, and I have been really impressed in getting to know him and his family in the recruiting process."
Pollard was a Rivals.com five-star recruit from Porterville (Miss.) Kemper County. At 6-foot-7 and 190 pounds, he brings a tall but-slight-build to the Capstone and a level versatility that could allow Grant much more flexibility in substitutions. Pollard chose Alabama over Texas, LSU, Georgetown and Missouri. Rivals.com rated him the No. 22 player in the nation.
Rivals.com basketball recruiting expert Eric Bossi described Pollard as "a high-level athlete with a solid frame. Pollard is an athletic and slashing wing who also has low post game. When dialed in and playing with full effort, he is a bit reminiscent of former Bama star Gerald Wallace."
Minnesota coach Tubby Smith, in Tuscaloosa Monday for the ARC of Tuscaloosa County golf tournament, was well-familiar with Pollard. Although Minnesota wasn't a player for Pollard's signature, Smith recognized the significance of Grant's new addition.
"Good players make you a good coach," Smith said. "Certainly Pollard is a very talented guy that will mean a lot to them."
Grant said that he was pleased with a class consisting only of Pollard because "he fills a need for us."
"The big thing for me is making sure we add pieces that help us get stronger. Devonta does that. It worked out. We recruited some other guys, some chose elsewhere and in some cases we chose to go in another direction. But with Devonta, we felt like we spent a significant amount of time building a relationship with him and his family and we are glad it worked out."
Reach Chase Goodbread at 205-722-0196 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com