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Debate Over Pollard’s Presence On Bama’s Hoops Team

devonta-pollardYesterday afternoon, Gary Parrish of reported that according to a source, Devonta Pollard is no longer a part of Alabama’s basketball program.  The departure was tied — obviously — to the fact that Pollard was recently arrested for allegedly taking part in the kidnapping of a child.  Parrish also wrote that his source told him that Pollard was planning to enroll at a junior college.

Parrish’s report was picked up by various outlets and the story spread throughout the afternoon.

Later in the day, Alex Scarborough of ESPN’s TideNation blog reported that Pollard is still a member of the Crimson Tide basketball team, according to his own source inside the program.  “Well cross that bridge when we get to it,” the source told Scarborough.

As of this morning, Pollard is still listed as a team member at Alabama’s official athletics site.

Pollard played in all 36 of Bama’s games as a freshman averaging 17.9 minutes, 3.9 points, and 3.0 rebounds per game.

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Alabama Basketball Player Devonta Pollard’s Trial Set For August; Formally Charged In Kidnapping Case

gavel-scalesAlabama basketball player Devonta Pollard faces  a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a $250,000 fine for his alleged role in the kidnapping of a six-year old girl in Mississippi in April.

Pollard and five others were formally arraigned on Wednesday.  He is one of seven people charged in the case.  His mother, Jesse Mae Pollard, was charged with kidnapping  six-year old Jashayla Hopson last month.  She reportedly kidnapped her as part of a dispute with the girl’s mother, her cousin.

The four-count indictment was released Wednesday.  Some of the details:

- Before the kidnapping, Pollard met his mother and another woman, Shamarious Ruffin, earlier in the day in a church parking lot.  He gave them a screwdriver and a wrench.  Ruffin told him, “we fixin to do some crazy s#@%”

-It was Ruffin who took the young girl out of school.  Ruffin, Jesse Mae Pollard, Jashayla Hopson, and Ruffin’s infant daughter took off in a rental car, bought a cell phone and checked into a hotel.

-Devonta Pollard dropped off 21-year old Shaquayla Johnigan at the hotel in Bessemer, Alabama.  Johnigan then took Jashayla to  a hotel in Laurel, Mississippi.

-Johnigan sent a text message to the girl’s mother, demanding $50,000.

-The next day, Johnigan and another woman dropped off the girl at the side of the road.  She was unharmed.

-FBI agents searched Devonta Pollard’s car and found a receipt for the cell phone that was used to send the text message and a key card for the Bessemer hotel room.

Pollard appeared in every Alabama game last season, starting eight contests, averaging 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds as a freshman. A five-star recruit from Porterville, Mississippi, he was widely recruited coming out of high school.

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Alabama Basketball Player Devonta Pollard Arrested On Kidnapping Charges

mrsec-breaking-newsAlabama basketball player Devonta Pollard was arrested Tuesday.  He’s facing a charge of conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

Pollard’s mother was arrested and charged with the kidnapping of six-year old Jashayla Hopson back in April.  The child was found one day later, unharmed.

Pollard, a rising sophomore on Alabama’s basketball team, is one of six people charged with some role in the kidnapping. His car was searched as part of the investigation.

Pollard appeared in all of Alabama’s games as a freshman, averaging 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds. He was a five-star recruit coming out of high school.

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MSU’s Stricklin Has To Ask Fans For Patience During Search

Fifteen days ago, many Mississippi State fans were rejoicing in the news that Rick Stansbury was stepping down as basketball coach.  We heard from a number of them each and every time we suggested that Stansbury should be given one last chance to rid his program of Renardo Sidney and turn things around.

“Stansbury can recruit, but he can’t coach.”  “It’s time for him to go.”  “With our tradition, why wouldn’t a name coach jump at the chance to come to State?”

And now?  MSU AD Scott Stricklin yesterday had to put out a message to calm Bulldog fans who are growing impatient with his yet-to-bear-fruit coach search.  This just hours after former Dog Robert Hood — father of current Dog Rodney Hood — claimed the school’s program “is not in shambles.”

Stricklin’s statement reads as follows:

“Like Bulldog fans everywhere, I eagerly anticipate the hiring of Mississippi State’s next men’s basketball coach.  However, from the beginning of this process, no deadline has been imposed on the search.  It’s important that we hire the right candidate to lead our program, a person of integrity who will instill discipline, character and accountability into the men’s basketball program at Mississippi State.  Thank you for your patience.  Hail State!”

I’m sure that will calm the State fans who’d hoped for Shaka Smart or Frank Martin or Gregg Marshall.  Instead they’ve seen at least three mid-major coaches re-up with their old schools (Steve Prohm at Murray State, Bryce Drew at Valparaiso) or take other jobs (John Groce to Illinois).  The Bulldog player roster is also emptying.  And Mr. Basketball in the Magnolia State, Devonta Pollard, has scratched MSU from his list of suitors.

Today longtime Vanderbilt assistant Dan Muller is being mentioned as a potential candidate.  A show of hands from anyone in Starkville who’d heard of Kevin Stallings’ 12-year assistant before yesterday, please?

Thought so.

Tubby Smith’s Minnesota Gophers lost in last night’s NIT finals to Stanford so now his name can begin to be kicked around in Starkville, too.  (Smith at one time or another has been mentioned in connection with every basketball job in the SEC and — if I checked — probably a couple of football jobs, too.  He’s the Jon Gruden of SEC hoops searches.)

So what’s the problem at State?  Here’s the short list:

1.  Most coaches believe Stansbury did an unreal job of recruiting to Starkville.  It’s a nice town.  I’ve been there.  I like it.  The people are Mayberry-friendly.  And that’s a compliment, not a dig.  But there’s a reason Dan Mullen signs most of his football recruits from inside state lines.  The aforementioned Martin will have a much easier time bringing outside recruits to a fancy new facility in the more cosmopolitan Columbia, South Carolina than he would have had if he’d talked to and landed at State.  Stansbury’s recruiting work was under-valued.

2.  Martin — to keep using him as an example — will make $2 million per season at Carolina.  It doesn’t appear Stricklin has that type of cash to toss around right now.  Thus the large number of newbie coaches and assistants on his list.

3.  State fans pooh-poohed when this site referred to Stansbury as the top coach in their school’s history.  “He only won a bunch of games because he was here so long.”  Well, you can bet any coach considering a move to State will know that he’s walking into a job with big expectations.  Whether fans viewed Stansbury as their Win King doesn’t matter.  Any candidate to replace him knows that the school just ran off the winningest coach it had ever had.  A smart candidate will wonder if he can do better than Stansbury did.

In the end, Stricklin might still find the right guy for MSU on Day 15, Day 25 or Day 35.  One of those up-and-comers he’s chatting up might just say “yes” and then turn into the next Dean Smith.  Could happen.

But we continue to believe State’s AD would have been better off giving Stansbury one more year with the instructions to boot Sidney and — how’d he put it? — “instill discipline, character and accountability into the men’s basketball program at Mississippi State.”

Instead, he’s talking to longtime SEC assistants that most fans have never heard of and putting out press releases asking for patience.  Might as well ask for peace, love and understanding while he’s at it.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines 3/27/12

1. Tight end prospect Hunter Henry will visit Arkansas on Wednesday.

2. What are Mark Richt and Paul Johnson selling to Georgia prospects? See here.

3. Florida is the “best school” offensive line prospect Brandon Kublanow has seen so far.

4. Kentucky is out but three SEC schools remain in contention for basketball prospect Devonta Pollard.

5. Missouri is off to a fast start with the 2013 recruiting class.

6. Missouri will put a lot of focus on recruiting Kansas City. So will Kansas coach Charlie Weis.

7. Alabama and Auburn are both recruiting Utah quarterback prospect Cooper Bateman.

8. Notre Dame continues its recruiting success. The Fighting Irish have eight commitments for the 2013 class.

Here’s a look at why Devonta Pollard is one of the nation’s top basketball prospects.

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