Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top 25 Player Countdown. Each day, we publish a new article counting down the 25 best players in the Atlantic 10 this past season. Today, we continue our countdown with #15 Kendall Pollard
After battling injuries towards the end of the 2015-16 season, Kendall Pollard came back healthy and better than ever this year. While injuries still forced Pollard to miss Dayton’s first six games of last season, the 6’6″ senior provided a huge boost for the Flyers when he returned.
Using the latter half of the non-conference schedule to recondition himself, Pollard was ready to dominate when Atlantic 10 play opened up. In Dayton’s first conference game, Pollard went off; dropping 20 points, grabbing three rebounds, and dishing out two assists in the win over La Salle. The following game, the Flyers found themselves facing a tough road test at St. Bonaventure. With Charles Cooke sidelined due to injury, Pollard put the team on his back. The senior forward scored 21 points and even hit three treys in 16 minutes of action as Dayton dismantled the Bonnies.
Over the course of the season Pollard managed to drop double figures a remarkable 19 times. His highest scoring performance, though, came on the road against Fordham. Pollard put up 25 points and pulled down six rebounds in Dayton’s win over the Rams. The senior leader’s most all-around performance, however, took place in an overtime thriller against Davidson. Facing a sizable double digit deficit with just a few minutes to play, the Flyers needed all of Pollard’s 18 points, 12 rebounds, and four steals to take down the Wildcats.
In a season filled with highs and lows, Kendall Pollard was one of Dayton’s most consistent players. Averaging 26 minutes per game, the Flyers knew they could rely on Pollard to be a force down low whenever needed. Putting up 14 points and five rebounds per game, Pollard earned third team all-conference honors.
While Pollard certainly will not go down as one of Dayton’s all-time great free throw shooters, the improvement he made over the course of his career is incredible. After shooting a dreadful 33% from the line as a freshman, the 6’6″ forward put his head down and went to work. In his senior season, Pollard shot over 64% from the line and left Flyer fans feeling confident that he could knock them down in the clutch.
As a member of Dayton’s all-time winningest class, Kendall Pollard embodied everything it means to be a team player. Only caring about winning, Pollard’s tough mindset helped guide the Flyers through adversity time and time again over the course of his career. With four straight NCAA tournament appearances, five tournament wins, and an Elite Eight run, Pollard will go down as one of Dayton’s greats. Even though the Flyers did not have the kind of March success they hoped for this year, Pollard did help Dayton win its second straight A-10 regular season title and that will not be forgotten.