Josh Pollard spurns chance to play at Kansas for opportunity to play in hometown
From Orem High to the University of Kansas and back to Orem and Utah Valley University, sophomore Josh Pollard has experienced playing basketball at the highest level but is happy to be home.
Coming from a family of basketball athletes who played college ball including his uncle Scot, Pollard always wanted to play NCAA Division I basketball.
In 2012 Pollard led Orem High School to the state championship as the only senior on the team. After Orem won the title, Kansas and head coach Bill Self offered him an opportunity to walk-on. Prior to his senior season at Orem, he attended a basketball camp hosted by the Jayhawks where his name was mentioned among the coaches, especially in regard to him walking on to the team.
He accepted the spot after serving a two-year mission in Los Angeles for The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints. When Pollard got home from his mission in 2014, he went straight to Kansas.
“It was a hard transition,” said Pollard. “I was home for three weeks and then left to Kansas.”
He made really good friends, but it was hard being away from home right after he had been gone for two years. Pollard struggled during the first few months at Kansas. He had taken two years off of basketball and wasn’t in great shape. Pollard was able play in seven games for the Jayhawks, but he wasn’t playing as much as he would have liked.
“I wasn’t playing much at Kansas and I just wanted to play,” he said. “Once I found out that UVU was getting a new coach, Coach Pope, I was interested in playing for them.”
After just one year at KU, Pollard decided to come back to his hometown, Orem, to play at UVU. It was an easy decision for him as coaches at UVU told him he would get playing time.
“It’s fun to play for a big program like Kansas,” Pollard said. “But I think it’s more fun to play at a smaller school because you’re kind of the underdog.”
Pollard was looking forward to playing in 2015-16 but had an unfortunate event occur on the second day of practice. He tore his meniscus and is out for the season.
He hopes to recover soon and be ready for next season at UVU. His biggest goal while at UVU is to help the Wolverines get into the NCAA tournament.
Photos courtesy of UVU Athletics