First, Dayton came in and wrapped up Morgan Park guard Kyle Davis. Now head coach Archie Miller and the Flyers have secured Simeon’s Kendall Pollard. The 6-5 senior committed to the Atlantic Ten Conference school Friday morning.
“They not only got a great basketball player, but they got a great kid,” Simeon coach Rob Smith said of Pollard.
There is no question Dayton’s presence in recruiting Chicago has been felt. Both Davis and Pollard are among the top 10 prospects in the Hoops Report’s Class of 2013 player rankings. Miller and assistant coach Tom Ostrom have made inroads in recruiting Chicago, which has shown in their Class of 2013 recruiting efforts.
“Kendall said it was a tough decision between the two [Dayton and Rhode Island], but he just felt a little more comfortable with the coaching staff there,” Smith pointed out. “They did a great job recruiting him. They let him know how big of a priority he was for them and what type of impact they felt he could make.”
The Hoops Report began raving about Pollard and his development early this past summer. A year ago he played a small role for a loaded Simeon team that won its third straight state championship. Pollard, however, has emerged this offseason as much as anyone in the senior class.
The tough, hard-nosed Pollard played well with Meanstreets on the AAU circuit in the spring, but he particularly shined during the month of June for Simeon — when college coaches weren’t even able to watch — because both Jabari Parker and Kendrick Nunn were playing with the U.S. National Team. Pollard’s opportunities to showcase his more diverse game was apparent as he was terrific at the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout and other team events in the month of June.
It was after those June performances when the Hoops Report labeled Pollard as one of the hot names to watch in July as a prospect whose stock would rise during the evaluation period. Pollard was even part of the Hoops Report’s “Team Illinois” in the fictitious Olympic-style prep hoops team of players from Illinois. Ultimately, after a wave of mid-major plus programs became active in Pollard’s recruitment, it came down to Dayton, Rhode Island and Colorado State in the last couple of weeks, with Bradley trying to sneak in late.
While Pollard’s skill level is still developing, there is no question he has college-ready strengths to hang his hat on. Pollard is arguably the best versatile defender in the Class of 2013, capable of locking up multiple positions defensively. Having to guard Parker, the best prep player in the country, in practice for the past year has paid dividends. Pollard is a tough, physical defender with better athleticism than people realize. The Hoops Report has referred to Pollard as the Ron Artest of prep hoops in Illinois. He will do whatever it takes to help his team win, whether it’s in the stat sheet or not.
“He’s always been able to defend, but his offense has picked up a lot,” says Smith. “His jumper is better. But more importantly his feel is better. He has a better feel for when to pass, when to attack. He’s only getting better.”
Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport