Former Lanett star Pollard reflects on first semester of college
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 2, 2019
LANETT — The chants of “three, three, three” rang throughout Legacy Arena on March 2 as the buzzer sounded. The Lanett boys basketball team won its third consecutive state championship, only a few weeks before Anquaevious Pollard was named the 2A State Player of the Year for the second season in a row. It was the storybook ending for the 6-foot-7 senior forward who also won his first football state championship as a receiver in the fall.
In June, he was on another campus, in another state, starting from scratch.
“In high school, I might have been ‘a star,’ or whatever, but when I got [to college], I wasn’t like that,” Pollard said. “I had to get worked with. I was bad. I wasn’t that good at basketball or football. In football, I came along, but in basketball, I had so much work to do.”
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Soon after graduating from Lanett High School in May, Pollard, along with Lanett classmates Ty Truitt and Baraskious Dowdell, went to Independence Community College (ICC) in Kansas to begin summer football workouts. In the weight room with the players was a camera crew, documenting the entire experience. ICC is the host school for this year’s “Last Chance U,” the popular Netflix series that follows a junior college football program.
“I was nervous at first because I didn’t want to mess up on camera, and then it’d be on Netflix,” Pollard said. “I was like, ‘man, if I mess up, it’s going to be on TV.’ Then, my receivers coach just told us that the cameras were going to be there, and to just act the same and be normal. After that, I got used to it. They’ll just come up to you, if you’re having a conversation with somebody, they’ll just come up and see what you guys are talking about.”
Coming out of high school, the two-sport star decided to go with the football route, because of the size advantage he has as a receiver on the gridiron. However, after being redshirting on the football team this year, he decided to try out for the basketball team.
He gained weight in the fall from practicing and working out with the football team, but the cardio that goes into basketball season shredded off a fair share of the gains he previously made. So far this season, Pollard has put up a fair amount of double-doubles, including an 18 point and 10 rebound performance before the team went on winter break. As the year has gone on, some of his coaches have figured out why the freshman has come along so fast.
“I never brought it up,” Pollard said of his basketball past. “One day, I walked into the coaches office, and he was on Youtube watching the state championship game. When I went into the locker room, the guys were like ‘you have rings?’ I was wondering where they found that out from. It motivates me to work harder though because the coach told me that I have D-I basketball scouts interested in me already.”
Pollard plans to graduate from ICC next December in order to enroll in a D-I program for the spring of 2020. He said he still keeps in contact with fellow former Lanett forward Emanuel Littles on a regular basis. The 6-foot-8 Littles has been a consistent starter this season for new D-I program North Alabama, and Pollard said their conversations add to the motivation for him to reach his next goal of competing on that level.
Pollard spent the better part of December back home in the Greater Valley Area before heading back to school on Dec. 30. During his break, he had the opportunity to watch a couple of games with the current group of Panthers playing for a fourth-consecutive title. After being away from home after nearly four months, Pollard said his experiences have allowed him to offer some wisdom to the current student-athletes at Lanett.
“Stay focused,” Pollard said. “Keep your grades up, listen to the coaches and never follow the wrong crowd because you can make one move and then everything would just go downhill from there.”