On the list of the most athletic high school junior guards in the country, 6-1 Solomon Poole of Terry Parker (Fla.) would have to be prominently featured. The younger brother of recent Kentucky transfer to Georgia Tech, Stacey Poole, is a highlight reel waiting to happen, but has been unfortunately combustible this year, as well.
Solomon Poole reportedly will miss the remainder of his junior season after accruing his second ejection of the season, per news reports from Florida. The state rule precludes Poole from participating in any more games this season. Poole is one of the nation’s most gifted players and will still be pursued by many high majors, but this is a red flag, to say the least. With bounce like few others, Poole has many college programs hoping he gets back on track as they expect to give him serious recruiting interest.
Devonta Pollard treks toward decision
One of the 2012’s most intriguing members has long been 6-7 wing forward Devonta Pollard. The standout from Kemper County (Miss.) is conservatively a top-30 talent in his class with major upside, but has gotten minimal attention as of late, due to his decision to play football in the fall rather than be active on the official visit circuit.
Now, Pollard is turning more attention to his college decision, and took his first official trip to Texas over the weekend. He excelled with the Southern Phenoms travelling team, and drew the attention of countless college programs over the spring and summer. A commitment or decision isn’t imminent by any means, and there’s popular belief that Mississippi State will be tough to beat in their quest to keep Pollard in the Magnolia State.
Also, Georgetown is expected to be a player for Pollard, as assistant coach Robert Kirby is a well-respected presence in Mississippi after having served on the staff at Mississippi State. There’s also the matter of off-and-on interest from Kentucky, which has occurred periodically for Pollard.
Pollard has great bloodlines, as his mother was a former professional basketball player. He’s likely to be the subject of a hotly contested spring recruitment, with many schools that missed out on top targets attempting to get in the picture late for his services. Texas had the first crack at Pollard, but it certainly won’t be the last. In the end, it will be hard to pull Pollard from his home state.
Pac-12 hoops fans should file football blue chippers in memory
Football is king this week, with the heavily publicized and analyzed national signing day. Still, Pac-12 hoops fans would be wise to make note of two football stars expected to sign with USC and Oregon, respectively. Gridiron recruiting experts consider 6-8 blue chippers Zach Banner of Lakes (Wash.) and Arik Armstead of Pleasant Grove (Calif.) to be among the top signees for their future schools this week. Hardcore basketball fans may hope to see Banner and Armstead in a different light.
Both are physically dominant presences on the football field, but both also excel on the hardwood, and could have been high-major recruits to basketball in their own right. Both have at least indicated some intention to play college basketball, though it remains to be seen if that will happen for either player, given the heavy emphasis on football for the Trojans and Ducks.
Still, Armstead starred for the Compton Magic on the AAU circuit, and Banner was an imposing force for Seattle Rotary during the summer. Both were key members of highly-regarded traveling team squads, as Armstead and Banner were at the forefront for each team. Armstead, in particular, has the tools to be a serious hooper if he ever chooses. With solid footwork and soft hands, Armstead could be a strong center in the Pac-12, if given the time and opportunity to work on his game in the college setting.
College football has reached unprecedented levels of interest and revenue generation, and there’s no mistaking that Banner and Armstead have huge futures in that sport. The basketball fans at Oregon and USC should hold out some hope that their programs have the opportunity to borrow both players, if only as talented walk-ons and post presences.
Seton Hall rides Canary Island pipeline for a point guard
Across the college basketball landscape, there isn’t a particularly long list of players more important to their teams than Jordan Theodore and Herb Pope are to Seton Hall. Theodore is heavily used as a lead guard for the Pirates, and there will no doubt be a huge hole when his eligibility is exhausted. Two freshmen guards have seen minimal minutes on the current team, and Seton Hall added another prospect to the mix to replace Theodore when Tom Maayan, a native of Israel at the Canarias Basketball Academy, enrolled in the school over the weekend.
Maayan becomes the fourth player from the Canarias Basketball Academy to join the roster, as inside players Patrik Auda and Aaron Geramipoor, and wing Haralds Karlis are on this year’s team. Maayan played in the FIBA Europe U18 tournament over the summer for Israel, and is said to be a solid pass first guard, as indicated by averaging over 4 assists per game in that event. Maayan is reportedly out with an ACL injury at the present, but if his recovery goes well he could fit into the mix in the epic task of replacing Theodore.
Kellon Hassenstab runs Hoopniks.com. Follow him on Twitter @hoopniks.