Who’s Got Next? Pollard Picks Bama, Harrell Chooses Cards And More…Posted by Josh Paunil on June 8th, 2012
Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lead Story: Top-30 Senior Devonta Pollard Commits To Alabama
Small Forward Is Lone Crimson Tide Commit. Class of 2012 small forward Devonta Pollard (#27) was the top unsigned prospect left in the senior class going in to Friday, but the Mississippi native became the latest top 75 player to come off the board when he committed to Alabama. The McDonald’s All-American chose the Crimson Tide over Georgetown, Missouri and Texas and is a guy with great athleticism and length and is a terrific finisher. He is very good in transition and is great above the rim. He is also able to finish with both hands and has a good pull-up jumper in the mid-range game. Pollard is a great shot-blocker as well for a wing and impacts the game on the defensive end. However, one of the biggest things he can improve on is his perimeter shooting. He can develop better range from beyond the three-point line and become more consistent from outside too. The 6’8, 192-pound wing is the lone commitment in the Class of 2012 for Alabama head coach Anthony Grant.
What They’re Saying
- Standout senior Savon Goodman‘s high school coach, Rob Moore, on who leads for his prized player: “Looks like SMU and UNLV are leading the pack. He loved [SMU head] coach [Larry] Brown. This late in the game he could commit at any time.”
- Star senior Devonta Pollard on how he knew we wanted to commit to Alabama: “It hit me really when I woke up this morning [the morning he announced] that I wanted to go to Alabama, but I didn’t really know if that was what I wanted to do, so I asked God again. I said, ‘Lord, if there’s another path that you want me to go down, bring it to my mind, and bring it to me before I get up here on this stage today and say that I’m going to the University of Alabama.’ There wasn’t another school that came to mind, so that’s when I figured that, OK, he wants me to go to Alabama, so I’m going to go to Alabama.”
- Stud senior Montrezl Harrell‘s father, Sam Harrell, on why his son chose Louisville: “Just overall we were there [on a visit] for a couple days. We got to look at the city, their facilities, spent a lot of time with the coaches, [assistant] coach [Kevin] Keatts and [head] coach [Rick] Pitino. We spent a lot of time with the team. We felt that was the place for him. Everything was comfortable and laid back.”
- Junior Semi Ojeleye what schools are at the top of his list and how his visit to Durham went: “Duke is up there near the top of my list. Duke’s up there, Wisconsin is up there, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona and schools like that. My visit went very well. The coaching staff and everything they said was good, the facilities are nice and it’s a nice campus.”
- Junior Torren Jones on what programs he likes the most: “Right now I’m liking Washington State and Missouri [the most]. I like the way Washington State plays and I like the coaching staff. I like Missouri because of the conference they’re in.”
What You Missed
Lone Top 75 Prospect Left Commits To Louisville. After Class of 2012 small forward Devonta Pollard (#27) committed to Alabama Friday, power forward Montrezl Harrell (#74) was the lone top 75 senior still on the board. Then, Harrell revealed Monday that he committed to Louisville shortly after visiting the Cardinals over the weekend. The 6’8″, 230-pound North Carolina native joins point guard Terry Rozier in Louisville’s 2012 recruiting class and fits the Cardinals’ style of play perfectly. Harrell is a great finisher above the rim and can do a variety of things well. He’s a good shot-blocker, runs the floor well and has good size. He also displays good strength and athleticism that helps him constantly get to the rim. However, he needs to improve on his shooting to take his game to the next level as well as his ability to score with this back to the basket. He’s a bit of a tweener at the forward position and could play at either forward spot. This is a huge pick-up for Louisville, especially this late in the year.
Blue Devils Among Favorites For Ojeleye Since Offering. There has long been speculation about where Duke would stand in Class of 2013 small forward Semi Ojeleye‘s list if they offered. Monday, shortly after taking a trip to Durham, Ojeleye said that Duke is near the top of his list along with Wisconsin, Stanford, UCLA and Arizona. The 6’6″, 220-pound Kansas native is also considering Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Oregon and is looking to commit before his high school season starts. Arizona is the next school Ojeleye is looking to visit although he hasn’t determined an exact date. He is a wing with good size who does a great job of creating his own shot. Ojeleye is also a good, physical defender who plays above the rim. From my conversations with him, it seems like the Badgers and Blue Devils have the edge over everyone else but we’ll see where everyone else stands as he keeps visiting other schools. Look for him to keep climbing up the prospect rankings as the summer progresses.
What We Learned
Two Lead For Senior Savon Goodman. We’ve already discussed two top seniors committing, and it looks like another one could pop at any time. Class of 2012 small forward Savon Goodman, a former Villanova commit, is reportedly favoring SMU and UNLV and may make a decision at any point this late in the game. We discussed last week how good of a job new SMU head coach Larry Brown has been doing early on the recruiting trail and he may now add another accomplishment by nabbing a top-100 Pennsylvania native. Goodman has also visited Pittsburgh and Seton Hall and would be a huge addition for any of the schools recruiting him. Now one of the top unsigned prospects left in the senior class, Goodman is a physical wing who likes to score and rebound. He’s a guy that plays above the rim and finishes well. Goodman has a high basketball IQ too and plays with a good motor. He could end his recruitment any day now and a timetable for a decision isn’t known.
Underclassmen And Lesser-knowns Stand Out At Pangos. The Pangos All-American Camp is always one of the best tournaments of the summer, and last weekend didn’t disappoint as many underclassmen and lesser known players shined in the spotlight. Class of 2014 star power forward Cliff Alexander became the first underclassman to be named the camp’s Most Outstanding Player as he dominated the paint all weekend long. Alexander has repeatedly said for the last year that Michigan State is his leader and I’d be surprised if he ended up choosing anyone other than the Spartans. Another notable headline that emerged from Pangos was the play of Class of 2015 power forward Ben Simmons. The Australia native is another guy who turned in a terrific performance and although he obviously is very early in the recruiting process, he said that Duke and Texas are the two schools he is most familiar with. Expect Alexander and Simmons to grab more headlines as the summer progresses.
Video of the Week
Ballislife put together a really good mixtape of last weekend’s Pangos All-American camp. As always, it was loaded with talent.