Today, the SEC and Big East announced the matchups for this season’s SEC-Big East Challenge, with the Hoyas playing Tennessee on Friday, November 30, at the Verizon Center. The SEC scored their first victory over the Big East outside of the hardwood, though, as five-star recruit Devonta Pollard chose Alabama over Georgetown this evening.
After Nerlens Noel chose Kentucky over Georgetown on April 11, the Hoyas reportedly switched gears with the five-star Pollard at the top of their wish list. The Mississippi native has been highly-touted for his athleticism and defensive instincts. As a senior at Kemper County High School, he averaged 23.8 points, 15.7 rebounds, and 5.1 blocks while leading his team to a state championship. The lefty was also named a McDonald’s All-American and would have marked the Hoyas’ first such player since Austin Freeman and Chris Wright graduated in 2011.
Initially, Pollard was set to make his decision after a scheduled visit to Georgetown in mid-April. For a period of time after Pollard’s visit to the Hilltop, some recruiting circles felt it was a two-horse race between Georgetown and Alabama. The wheels came off, though, after assistant coach Robert Kirby left the program for the same capacity at LSU. Just prior to Pollard’s announcement, he added LSU to the list, perhaps because of Kirby’s arrival in Baton Rouge. Prior to the coach’s departure from the Hilltop, Kirby opened another side of the country for Georgetown recruiting, moving out of the DMV area to secure commitments from Missouri native Otto Porter and Mississippi-born Tyler Adams.
A similar commitment from Pollard would have put the Hoyas at their maximum of 13 scholarships, potentially creating a logjam for scholarships in 2013 with the addition of small forward Stephen Domingo. With a talent of Pollard’s stature, however, it would have been a good problem to have. As it stands now, the Hoyas’ have three commitments from the Class of 2012, headlined by four-star recruit D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and bolstered by big men Bradley Hayes and Brandon Bolden.
Photo Credit: Jackson Perry