Devonta Pollard withdraws from UA, basketball program

Freshman basketball player Devonta Pollard has decided to withdraw from The University of Alabama, head coach Anthony Grant said in a statement released by the University Monday.

Pollard was charged with conspiracy to commit an offense in relation to an earlier kidnapping that took place on April 30, after serving as a driver for one of the six other suspects accused of arranging the kidnapping, according to a grand jury indictment filed earlier this month in a Mississippi U.S. District Court.

Pollard’s mother, Jesse Mae Brown Pollard, was charged with kidnapping a 6-year-old girl from her elementary school in Scooba, Miss., and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $750,000 fine, if she is convicted.

“Devonta has endured a very challenging time these past few months due to the legal issues involving him and his family,” Grant said in the statement. “Our primary concern is and has always been his well-being and doing what is in his best interest. In light of the issues at hand, we felt it best to allow him the time he needed to focus solely on family without having to address his status as a student-athlete.”

The former five-star recruit from Porterville, Miss., faces a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a $250,000 fine. A trial date has been set for Aug. 6 before U.S. District Judge William H. Barbour Jr.

Grant said Devonta Pollard has more serious issues to worry about right now other than basketball.

“In a recent meeting with Devonta, he informed me that he and his family have decided that he needs to withdraw from The University of Alabama so that he can be closer to his family during this difficult time,” Grant said. “Devonta has my full support with his decision. It was a pleasure coaching him this past season.”

Devonta Pollard was the only signee of Alabama’s 2012 recruiting class, playing in 36 games and making eight starts as a freshman. He averaged 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.

With his withdrawal, Alabama will have only nine scholarship players on its roster for the 2013-14 season. Recent transfers Ricky Tarrant and Michael Kessens are not eligible to play in the upcoming season and must sit out one year.

This was Grant’s first comment in regards to Pollard’s arrest, but he was adamant about speaking only about Devonta Pollard’s decision and giving his support to his former prized player. This will be the only statement Grant gives concerning Devonta Pollard’s situation: “As this is an ongoing legal situation, I cannot comment further.”

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