Devonta Pollard is a five-star 6-8 205-pound forward from Porterville, Mississippi. He is also the top and seemingly ONLY target for Coach Anthony Grant for 2012. If you haven't seen video of him, he is for real and would be perfect to take over for JaMychal Green.
Today (May 16) is the deadline for Division I-A players to sign their letter-of-intent but I thought I heard somewhere that there is a loophole if a school holds a scholarship open (UPDATE: see first comment below). A reporter for the Clarion-Ledger who is close to the family tweeted that Pollard will not decide today.
Reports are that Texas and Alabama are the leaders with Georgetown and Mizzou as the bridesmaids. The main recruiter for Georgetown took a job on Johnny Jones' LSU staff (which hurt the Hoyas' chances) and there are rumors LSU may have been added to the list - especially since Ralston Turner has been granted his release to transfer to NC State. Missouri reportedly has no scholarships left. There is also an outside chance that Mississippi State - his original favorite before Rick Stansbury's departure - might be back in the mix.
Pollard is the last top prospect to not sign.
His father died of cancer about two years ago and their house burned down last year. He is VERY close with his mom and she has influence on the decision. To Bama's credit, Tuscaloosa is about the same distance (75 miles) to his hometown as Starkville (68 mi.).
As for Grant, I am a little surprised he has not signed anyone. Alabama has three available scholarships due to the departures of Charles Hankerson (transferred to Wyoming) and Tony Mitchell (declared for the NBA Draft).
There is still the possibility that a transfer, juco or International player ends up on the 2012-13 team. However, if Grant does not add anyone, the Tide will be playing with ten players including guard Retin Ojomoh who redshirted last season.
UPDATE: In an interesting development, Virginia Tech's Dorian Finney-Smith had announced last week that he was transferring from Virginia Tech. Today the 6-foot-9 forward has narrowed his list to Florida, Marquette, Georgetown, Iowa State (visiting June 7; huh?), Villanova, Texas and Alabama. He played in all 33 games making 30 starts for the Hokies this season as a true freshman. He averaged 6.3 points and 7.0 rebounds. Louisville may now be in the mix too.
UPDATE #2: Virginia Tech has another defection in their top 2012 recruit, Montrezl Harrell. He is a four-star 6-7 forward from Tarboro, N.C. Harrell had signed a LOI but when Coach Seth Greenberg was fired, he asked for and was granted his release. He will have many suitors but Alabama is at an advantage in that many schools already have a full class. Alabama, Cincinnati, Florida,
Kentucky, NC State, Louisville (visiting May 31) are thought to be favorites. He would be eligible right away at all except NC State (ACC).
More DRAMA! How exactly did Pitino free up scholarships & why did he really hire Harrell’s coach, Kevin Keatts, from Hargrave Military Academy?