Kent State picked up a commitment from one of the top remaining transfers on the market Thursday, with it being reported by multiple outlets that former Maine guard Xavier Pollard has decided to join the Mid-American Conference program.
As a junior Pollard averaged 14.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for the Black Bears, who struggled mightily before the decision was made to not retain Ted Woodward as head coach. Pollard played in 24 of Maine’s 29 games in 2013-14, reaching double figures in 21 of those games. He scored a season-high 26 points in a loss at Hartford in January, making 11 of his 18 shot attempts from the field.
Pollard’s expected to have to sit out the 2014-15 season per NCAA transfer rules, and with that in mind he’s a very important addition for head coach Rob Senderoff.
Kent State’s top two returning scorers from last season, guards Kris Brewer (11.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.9 apg) and Derek Jackson (10.7, 3.7, 2.0), will both be seniors next season. Pollard would then be able to slide into the rotation in 2015-16 as Kent State looks to account for the losses of those two guards
Pollard becomes the sixth member of Kent State’s 2014 recruiting class, with the other five players being eligible to play next season. The Golden Flashes, who finished the 2013-14 season with a record of 16-16 (7-11 MAC), will also have Hofstra transfer Jimmy Hall. Hall played in just seven games in 2012-13 before legal issues led to his being dismissed from the Hofstra program.
For the third time since the season ended, a player has been granted his release from Maine. The latest transfer is leading scorer Xavier Pollard.
The junior guard announced his intent to finish his career elsewhere on Tuesday.
“After meeting with Xavier today, we agreed it would be in his best interest to look at transferring at this time,” Maine head coach Ted Woodward said in a statement on Tuesday. “We wish him the best of luck in his future academic and athletic endeavors.”
Pollard, the 6-foot-3 shooting guard, led the Black Bears with 14.7 points and was second on the team in rebounds at 4.7 boards per game in 2013-2014. He finished the season as an American East third team selection.
On March 27, Maine saw two players — Dimitry Akanda-Coronel and Mitch Worcester — elected to leave the program. Akanda-Coronel was third on the team in scoring at 10.4 points per game.
“We’ve got a student-athlete like Xavier who’s had some pretty good success on the court for us, has shown some good potential,” Creech said. “Now he wants to test himself to see if he can put himself in a position to play at a higher-level Division I school.”
While no specific schools have emerged as potential landing spots for Pollard, Jeff Depelteau, his former prep school coach at Suffield Academy (Conn.), told NBC Sports that Pollard is looking at schools in bigger conferences such as the CAA, MAAC and Atlantic 10.
Pollard will have one year of eligibility remaining after he sits out the 2014-2015 season.
Maine finished 6-23 (4-11 American East) this past season.