Mcdonald's All-American Week Player Evaluations (Part One)April 2, 2012
Missing the game and some practice time with a concussion, Devonta Pollard
(ESPN #32, Rivals #9, Scout #25) was still a very intriguing prospect for us to take in for the first time during our week in Chicago. He struggled for stretches, but showed why he's considered one of the more intriguing long-term prospects and top uncommitted players in this class.
Sporting a promising 6'8 frame with a 6'10 wingspan, Pollard has terrific size for a player who spends most of his time playing out on the perimeter. He's an explosive leaper who is surprisingly smooth and coordinated and looks very comfortable in transition. Pollard would benefit from the improved overall strength that will come from working in a college weight room, even if he already has a very promising base of physical tools to build on.
On the offensive end, Pollard is an energetic forward that shows promise in a few different areas, though he clearly lacks significant polish and does not excel in any one area at this point. Able to attack opponents in a straight line off the dribble with a strong first step, Pollard will finish plays above the rim when given the chance, can make his presence felt on the offensive glass, and seems to know his role pretty well. In the practices we saw, he struggled to create his own shot against Shabazz Muhammad
in true one-on-one situations, showing he has room to improve on his ball-handling skills. If Pollard can get stronger, develop his perimeter jumper, and continue to use his athleticism to make plays around the rim, his versatility could certainly be of significant value at the NCAA level in time.
Defensively, Pollard shows good intensity and gives less athletic players fits with his length and anticipation. He got beat off the dribble on occasion, but didn't give up on plays, and seems to have the potential to defend multiple positions at the next level. Able to block an occasional shot at the rim, the physical play in the paint this week took a toll on him, as he wasn't able to use his terrific timing in the crowded lane all that consistently.
A hard working player with solid upside, Pollard has a ton of room to grow as a player and prospect. Depending on where he heads to school, his versatility and defense may be the keys to his early success. If he can develop as a shooter, and begin to exploit his athleticism in the half-court offensively, he could be a very interesting long-term prospect.
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