While Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak lamented his team playing its fourth consecutive Sunday game, Washington State sophomore forward Jeff Pollard didn’t mind the extra day back in his home state and visiting with family and friends.

A member of two state championship teams at Bountiful High, Pollard played alongside current Utah State guard Sam Merrill and BYU guard Zac Seljaas (Merrill was there for one of the two state title runs). Pollard averaged 16.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game as a senior.

Washington State’s recruiting efforts started shortly after coach Ernie Kent took over as the program’s new coach. Kent, who’d previously been at Oregon, is now in his fourth season.

“Just the experience of the coaching staff,” Pollard said of the attraction to Washington State. “When they told me what their plan was and how they were going to rebuild the program, I jumped on board and was like I definitely want to be a part of that. They all have a record of being able to rebuild programs.”

Pollard initially signed with Washington State as a senior, but did a “gap year” at Impact Academy in Las Vegas, Nev., which he described as a chance to take a redshirt year without actually using a redshirt. He said that year helped him adjust to be away from home and develop physically.

The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Pollard has played in 15 games off the bench and averaged 5.6 points and 2.6 rebounds.

“I kind of have been around the program, even though I’m just a sophomore, for three and a half years,” Pollard said. “So I feel like I’ve gotten used to being in the situation I’m in. I’ve really gotten used to the role that I have on the team now. I just feel comfortable, and I feel like I’m in a good place.”

Van Dyke in lineup

Van Dyke in lineup

Junior guard and Salt Lake City resident Parker Van Dyke started for the second time this season on Sunday. Van Dyke’s only other start came against Northwestern State on Dec. 20. Van Dyke played 20 minutes in that win at home and dished out a season-high six assists.

Van Dyke came into the game averaging 3.3 points per game and shooting 25 percent from the floor while averaging 14.6 minutes per game.

Barefield heats up

Junior guard Sedrick Barefield had scored just six points in the team’s previous three games, including a scoreless effort at USC. Barefield came off the bench Sunday to score seven first-half points.