NIT Northeastern Alabama

Details emerge in kidnapping case involving Alabama forward Devonta Pollard


Tuesday it was reported that Alabama freshman forward Devonta Pollard was one of six people indicted in the kidnapping of 6-year old Jashayla Hopson, and on Wednesday details of the four-court indictment were released.

And the details are chilling to say the least.

The four-count indictment charging the seven defendants was released Wednesday by U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis, attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. According to the document, Jessie Pollard spoke with school secretary Wanda Faye Dancy, 52, who told her that Jashayla was in the school library and what she was wearing. Pollard sent Shamarious Ruffin, 25, into the school, where she told the girl’s teacher that “Miss Wanda said it was all right” to take her, according to the indictment.

The indictment states that Devonta Pollard met with his mother and Ruffin in a church parking lot earlier that day. He delivered a screwdriver and wrench to them before Ruffin told him “we fixin’ to do some crazy s—,” the indictment states.

Devonta Pollard’s role in the kidnapping was that of a driver, as he transported Hopson to a hotel in Bessemer, Ala. From there, 21-year old Shaquayla Johnigan drove Hopson to a hotel in Laurel, Miss.

Hopson would ultimately be found unharmed the following day in Enterprise, Miss.

According to a report from the Associated Press the kidnapping occurred as a result of a land dispute between Jessie Pollard, Devonta’s mother, and the mother of Jashayla Hopson.

Devonta Pollard was one of six to be charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and his bail was set at $10,000. Pollard, who was a McDonald’s All American before joining the Alabama program, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?