Former Washington State forward Jeff Pollard signed a deal with Argentina’s Club Atlético Peñarol on Sunday. The contract means his dream of playing at the professional level is just getting started.
Prior to his senior season, Pollard looked at transferring out of Pullman and finishing his collegiate career elsewhere, but head coach Kyle Smith helped convince him otherwise. His decision to stay on the Palouse would turn out to be a great one as he helped lead the Cougars to their first Pac-12 Tournament win since 2009. They would also win 16 games last season, the most for the Cougars since the 2011-2012 season.
While last season was ultimately cut short due to COVID-19, he made sure the 2019-2020 Washington State basketball team is something that will be remembered for a long time.
Pollard nearly doubled his points per game average from his junior year to his senior year going from 4.8 points per game to 8.7 per game. His three-point shooting also took a massive jump as he had just 3 triples in his previous three years to 14 made last year. He finished last season with an additional 122 rebounds in his 26.3 minutes per game.
He will be joining a team in Argentina that finished last season with an 11-16 record and finished 10th in the Liga Nacional de Basquest - the top league in Argentina. The club, like Washington State, is looking to get back to the top ranks as their most successful recent season came in 2010 when they won 5 official tournaments.
Jeff Pollard knew it was unlikely his opportunity to play basketball after college would come in the NBA, but the Washington State forward hoped to pursue a career in professional basketball nonetheless.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott reportedly gave out nearly $4 million in bonuses, including $2.5 million to himself, one month before he laid off or furloughed 94 employees, according to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News.