Local college notebook: DSU women’s basketball star Pollard to join Swiss pro league

DOVER — NaJai Pollard rewrote the record books during her career at Delaware State University.

And her career isn’t stopping there.

Pollard has signed a contract with Helios VS Basket of the Switzerland Women’s Professional Basketball League. She will join the club in time for the 2019-2020 season, which begins in September.

Pollard finished her Delaware State career this season as the all-time leading scorer in women’s basketball program history.

NaJai Pollard

She netted 1,988 points in her career. She also holds the career record for blocked shots with 254 and is second in rebounds with 1,033.

Pollard earned the MEAC Player of the Year award as a senior. Pollard was a two-time HBCU All-America selection, three-time All-MEAC first-team pick and won MEAC Rookie of the Year during her four years in Dover.

Pollard was tops in the MEAC and seventh among all Division I players in scoring at 22.9 points per game. She was also the No. 2 MEAC rebounder at 10.3 per game and six-time MEAC Player of the Week selection during the 2018-19 campaign.

“She’s like James Harden for us,” said DSU first-year coach Dave Caputo. “For us to win, she needs to score. There’s a lot of pressure on her. She’s getting double-teamed, triple-teamed every night. She always rises to the challenge.”

More honors for Lawson

Dover High and Delaware State baseball product Garrett Lawson was named to the East–American Baseball Coaches Association Rawlings NCAA Division I All-Region second team.

Lawson, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, is the first Hornet to earn all-region honors since Scott Davis in 2013.

A three-time MEAC Pitcher of the Week, Lawson was 7-3 with a MEAC-best 1.85 earned run average during the regular season. He also led the league with a .196 opponent batting average and tied for the conference high with 97 strikeouts, averaging 11.2 Ks per nine innings, during the regular year.

Lawson was selected in the 19th round of the MLB Draft in June by the Los Angeles Angels.

Hens to face Nova in hoops

The Delaware men’s basketball program announced on Friday that it will face Villanova in December.

The contest will be played on Dec. 14 as part of the fourth annual Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

The event will also include a matchup between Kansas State and Mississippi and be televised by ESPN. Game times will be announced later.

The Never Forget Tribute Classic, in partnership with SoldierStrong, provides resources that aid both mental and physical rehabilitation for U.S. service personnel, as well as assisting scholarship grants for domestic and foreign affair grants.

The Blue Hens played the Wildcats every season between 2009-15 but haven’t faced them since. Delaware is 0-14 all-time against Nova.
“This will be a tremendous opportunity for us to compete against an outstanding program in Villanova while also supporting a worthy cause,” said UD coach Martin Ingelsby.

It would be interesting if Dylan Painter, the 6-foot-9, 245-pound transfer from Villanova that Delaware picked up last year, could play against his old team. But the last day for UD’s fall exams are on Dec. 14 and the grades would have to be officially posted before Painter could be eligible.

Transfer time

The Delaware football squad has added at least six Division I transfers this off-season.

The Hens have picked up two linebackers, in part because junior standout Colby Reeder is expected to miss the season after undergoing back surgery earlier this month.

UD coach Danny Rocco said the NCAA transfer portal has really changed the world of college transferring. Now college coaches can just go to one place and see a list of what players are available at different positions,

Rocco said there’s been as many as 9,000 names in the portal.

“I don’t think it’s going to change how I do business,” he said. “We’re still going to build our program with high school student-athletes that are in your program for the four or five years and graduate from your program.

“But I do think there is a more viable path to bring in transfers to fill needs and to help you manage and balance your roster. And we’re going to use it in that context.”

Hornets add another transfer

The Delaware State women’s basketball team has added another transfer, Shannon Dozier, from Ole Miss.

Dozier played in 31 games last season for Ole Miss with nine starts. She will have to sit out one season at Delaware State in accordance with NCAA transfer regulations.

Dozier is the second transfer from a major conference this offseason for the Hornets. She joins Xavier grad transfer Tierra Floyd, who will be immediately eligible.

Dozier makes it 12 newcomers on Delaware State’s roster. That includes two transfers, seven junior college transfers, two high school recruits and one foreign player.

Notes

• Up-and-coming Middletown High quarterback Braden Davis tweeted recently that he has received a scholarship offer from perennial national power Alabama. Davis, who will be just a sophomore this fall, already has offers from Texas A&M, N.C. State and Temple.

• It will be interesting to see what renovated Delaware Stadium looks like on Aug. 29 when the Hens host Delaware State in the first football game of the season.

The seating on the home side, which is currently being renovated, is expected to be completed in time for the opener. But a temporary pressbox will have to be built for this season.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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