The Bond Between A Mother And Her Son

Kemper County High School (Dekalb, MS) senior basketball player Devonta Pollard and his mother, Jessie Pollard, a former college and pro basketball player, have a very unique bond when it comes to the game. While most mothers simply support their sons by attending their games, Jessie, due to playing it herself, has a special ritual that she and Devonta follow before and after each game.

Before a game, there is a two-step approach that they use to prepare for the upcoming game; one step is done the night before a game and the second step is done the day of the game.

"We usually, number 1, pray the night before the ballgame, and (two) we usually work out the night before the ballgame," said Jessie Pollard.

That's the first step. The second step is to focus on the game itself.

"Before the game, she talks to me about what my (late) Dad would expect from me, what she expects from me and how the atmosphere will be for the game,"said Devonta. "She just tries to get me motivated before the game."

Devonta is very appreciative that his mother takes the time to help him prepare for his games.

"I love the fact that she does that (because) it helps me in a lot of ways," said Devonta. "It takes some of the pressure off of me because before she talks to me I'm wondering how I will prepare for the game both mentally and physically."

Once the game is over, Jessie and Devonta discuss the pros and cons, although Jessie gives Devonta a cooling off period.

"After the game, I let him have a calm ride home then let him get his shower (when we get home)," said Jessie. "Then, we will go sit down and he'll listen as I tell him the good points first then I will tell him where I felt it all changed (if things changed)."

While some sons might think their mother doesn't always know best when it comes to the game of basketball, don't include Devonta among that group.

"I take what she says seriously not just because she has played the game but because she is my mother and she would never tell me anything that would hurt me or put me in a bad situation," said the talented youngster.

As for what she tells him, according to Devonta, "she tells me after the game if I had a good game and she also tells me some of the things that I did wrong. She'll tell me how I could have done them another way. She'll tell me about the little things that would help me out during a game. I (also) give her some feedback, too, about what I did that didn't work. And she will come up with something to help me."

Devonta didn't also value his mother's opinion like he does today.

"When I was young I used to listen but (in my mind) I would think, 'my mom doesn't know what she is talking about because it is different on the court,'" said Devonta. "But then, as I got older and the competition got stiffer I started to take in what she said and started using some of it. Now, I see what she said is true."

Jessie gives him advice because she knows he has a chance to be really good beyond high school.

"He has no other choice than to be better than what he is now," said Jessie. "In high school, you have two or three players holding onto you at the same time. In college, it will be a one-on-one game. And I personally feel that he can play one-on-one with anyone."

But it won't just be him playing one-on-one that will make him an even better player. College gives you advantages that you don't have in high school.

"I am glad he will be playing (college) next year where there will be four other good players on the court with him (because) everybody is talented (in college)," said Jessie. "He will be able to have more than two coaches working with him. And he will be able to work on his game almost every day at least one time and sometimes two times a day. He'll also play at least two games and sometimes three games a week."

As for where he will be playing in college, Devonta Pollard told me he's still interested in the same five schools as before - Alabama, Georgetown, Mississippi State, Missouri and Texas. According to his mother, they are in the process of setting up their official visits. The first two will be Texas at the end of this month and Missouri the first weekend of February.

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Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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