NEWMAN — The Tri-County sports co-op has had numerous athletes go on to play football, girls basketball and track in college.
But for the first time in a long time, Tri-County — made up of Oakland, Kansas and Shiloh — will have a boys basketball player going on to play in college.
Mitch Pollock, a 6-2 guard who attends Shiloh High School, will continue his basketball career at Millikin University.
“Mitch is a natural leader and one of the most positive leaders I have been around,” said Tri-County coach Cyrus Ferguson of Pollock, who was also the quarterback in football and played baseball as well. “He is a good knock down shooter. He can create his own shots and get to the rim or dish it off.”
Pollock said he had some football offers as well, but really wanted to play basketball.
“I received an offer from Judson University in Elgin and Millikin had been texting me and staying in touch,” said Pollock, who lives in Newman. “I had visited Millkin last summer for football. I liked both places, but family support is big for me and Millikin is a lot closer. I love the Millikin campus and their coaches. I am really excited to be a part of their program."
Pollock led the team in scoring, rebounding and assists at 16.2, 7.2 and 1.1 blocked shots per game, respectively. He was 178-of-388 (.459) from the field, including 32-of-106 (.302) from three-point range. He was 98-of-133 (.737) from the free throw line, which led the team. He was a first team all-Lincoln Prairie Conference and was the MVP of the Tri-County Holiday Tournament.
Pollok said he dealt with assistant coach Kramer Soderberg mainly.
The Big Blue went 4-21 overall last season and 1-15 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin under coach Mark Scherer, who will be in his fourth season at the school of 2,154 students. Scherer is a former junior varsity coach and teacher at Sullivan.
Pollock, who plans to study sports management or journalism, has been playing basketball since he was in grade school with the biddy basketball program in Newman and said he has been in love with sports since he could walk.
Pollock played some varsity as a sophomore and as a junior he averaged 11.6 points, six rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 steals and a block for the 16-15 Titans.
“I didn’t hit my growth spurt until my sophomore year when I woke up one day and my feet were hanging off the bed,” Pollock said. “I have been handling the ball since I started playing. I was always the little kid so I brought the ball up the court. As I got taller and worked in the weight room to help build my frame, the ball-handling helped me tremendously.”
As for coaches who helped him along the way, Pollock said, “David Smith (former Tri-County coach) knew I could play with the older kids when I was younger. Ferguson liked the way I played and let me do a lot things I liked to do and be the leader of the team.”
Pollock, the son of Jerad and Randi Pollock, has a sister, Molly, a freshman at Shiloh, and a brother Garrett, a seventh-grader at Shiloh who loves basketball also.
For now Pollock is working out in the garage with his ball-handling skills and shooting on a half court concrete pad as well as running and bicycling.
“It has been an honor to be able to watch Mitch,” said Ferguson. “I have watched him grow up and become the kind of player he is today and look forward to seeing him at Millikin.”
PHOTOS: Tri-County football
Contact Mike Monahan at (217)-238-6854. Follow him on Twitter: @monahanmikejgtc
Get in the game with our Prep Sports Newsletter
Sent weekly directly to your inbox!