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With the Alabama basketball season over, it’s time to look back at the season that was in Tuscaloosa. For starters, we are going to review each player, and for the ones coming back, we’re going to let you know what they need to improve on in 2013-14 in order for the Crimson Tide to live up to their potential next season. We are going by class, so we’ll start with the freshman, then the sophomores, juniors, and then finish it up with the lone senior.
Snagging Devonta Pollard may have been the best recruiting win since Anthony Grant came to Alabama. Pollard was a five star prospect out of Porterville, Mississippi and held offers from Georgetown and Texas to go along with the home state Mississippi State Bulldogs.
High expectations accompanied Pollard to the Capstone, and we saw his potential throughout the 2012-13 campaign, but his progression came a lot slower than many Alabama fans had hoped coming in.
17.9 MPG, 3.9 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.6 BPG, 37 FG%
Pollard’s numbers were disappointing, and he scored in double figures only twice all season long. His best game of the season came in a road loss to VCU where he scored 13 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. He put in 10 points in the SEC opener on the road against Missouri.
Pollard just never could figure it out on the offensive end of the floor this season, but late in the year he did find a way to make a contribution in spite of his struggles scoring. He was billed coming out of high school as a terrific rebounder and was said to have the ability to defend multiple positions.
We saw that come alive in the last 10-15 games or so as Pollard contributed to the cause with sound defense and good work on the glass. In 40 minutes combined against Northeastern and Stanford in the NIT, Pollard grabbed 14 rebounds to go along with 8 points.
He started coming into his own late in the year, and a full offseason working out with the team will do wonders for Pollard moving into his sophomore season. He didn’t get the benefit of a full offseason last year coming out of high school, and it slowed his development much like that of Trevor Lacey last year.
Must Improve: Post Game
A little added bulk in the offseason will do wonders for Pollard’s back to the basket game. He is already one of the strongest guys on the team, and he is one of the elite athletes in the country. If he can develop a post game, then he’s going to be tough for most forwards to defend next season due to his size and strength.
Developing a mid-range jumper would be beneficial for him as well. He seems to have a decent enough stroke on his jumpshot, but he lost confidence in it early in the season after a few misses. If he can consistently knock down 15-18 foot jumpers to go along with being able to score in the post, then Pollard is going to be very dangerous next year.
He should improve defensively and on the glass as well during the offseason, and his improvement on offense would make him a more well rounded player. If he can do all that this summer, then it would go a long way into solving Alabama’s depth issues on the interior.
Despite a bit of a disappointing freshman campaign, Devonta Pollard’s potential is through the roof. I can’t wait to see the steps he takes from his freshman to sophomore season.
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