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The 8th Man: Jon Hood or Stacey Poole?

We all know what the main complaint against this Kentucky team is: a lack of depth.  We’ve heard it all season, even with the success of the freshman and the recent emergence of Josh Harrellson.  I have made it clear that UK can go as far as it wants playing just 6 players (barring injury), but I will admit that it’s always a bonus to go 7 or  8 deep.  I am not positive that Eloy Vargas will give the Cats much this season, but he will consistently be the 7th man off the bench as the only other big man on the roster.

But, we currently have 2 fairly highly rated recruits who are sitting on the bench most games, one of which has been in the program 2 years.  Jon Hood and Stacey Poole have not had any impact this season, but it just one of them could contribute 10 solid minutes a game, they could provide that Ramon Harris role from last season.  Hood has actually seen the court in every game this season, but is only playing 6 minutes a game, mostly in garbage time.  Poole has played in 9 games, but is averaging just 0.4 ppg. 

Despite their lack of production, you can see the potential in both players.  Poole showed in Canada that he is a very athletic player, but is raw on the offensive end of the floor and needed work on his defensive fundamentals.  Hood has shown a little ability to shoot the basketball, but he struggles on the defensive end of the floor and doesn’t finish around the basket very well.  So while both guys have the liabilities, the basic skills are there to someday be contributors in this program.  The question is, will it be this year?

Personally, I think Poole should get some look.  He has the athleticism to be competitive in a weak SEC.  He will not be an offensive threat this season, but he doesn’t need to be.  Neither was Ramon Harris last year.  But the main difference between Poole and Hood was that in Canada, it seemed to me that Poole struggled with pick and roll and who to block out.  While Hood was getting beat off the dribble.  Maybe Poole is just not improving in this area, hence why he isn’t playing.  I honestly don’t know.  But, the room for improvement seemed greater for Poole than Hood.

I honestly hope that both guys get a chance to become a consistent player for this team in more than garbage time.  While it isn’t absolutely necessary, it sure would be quite a bonus for the Cats on their quest for another SEC title.  But, what do you all think: Can either Poole or Hood become players on this team?  Or both?  Do you see the potential that I do?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

42 Comments for The 8th Man: Jon Hood or Stacey Poole?

  1. ReverendBlue
    10:04 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Need one or the other to step up.

  2. OneAndDone
    10:06 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Tennessee gets beat by College of Charleston, who gets BLOWN OUT by Morehead State..bbaaaawwwwwhahahahaha

  3. Nashcats
    10:11 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Pick and role? As in role play? I always thought it was pick and roll….

  4. Disco Dave
    10:14 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    I think both Poole and Hood should get more minutes. They should relieve Miller and Liggins, but the reason they don’t, is because they look like true freshman. I know Hood is a soph. but he still plays like a Freshman. He gets the ball on the top of the key and isn’t thinking about scoring. He’s looking to pass. If he would put the ball on the floor and attack the rim, he’d play more. Same for Poole. He just needs to get stronger and play with more confidence. But neither of them are helping UK right now and that’s why they don’t play. As for Vargas, I like him, but he needs to go back to JR College.

  5. C Pullem
    10:15 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    I hope Poole is taking good notes on Liggins. If he’s going to contribute at UK, it will be in a similar capacity.

  6. Sherwood44
    10:16 am January 3, 2011 Permalink


  7. bluecat15
    10:17 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    I think Poole would be the player that can step up. Hood is a step slow and weak physically. We need an 8th man that can steal some minutes defensively. Poole has the size, speed and strengh for the job. Hood is inefective at this level.

  8. Franky
    10:19 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    I can’t believe Loserville only dropped 2 spots in the AP poll to #22. Cats are #11. That’s goofy.

  9. Coach Cal
    10:22 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Since neither one could guard the Gatoraid bucket, then they will polish the pine with the behind.

  10. C Pullem
    10:22 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Hood still plays like a freshman. Its put up or go home time. The OVC is full of guys who were almost good enough to play big time basketball.

  11. Megan
    10:23 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    No, it’s pickle roll! Sillies …

    Stacey’s problem in Canada was he didn’t know where to go after he handed the ball off in the DDMO. Coach was forever stopping the game to tell him (and demonstrate!). Surely he has a better sense of it now, since the short roster forces him to play every minute of practice.

    Jon’s problem isn’t shooting. Really it isn’t. He simply doesn’t maintain his defensive stance and doesn’t rebound consistently. Not fond of his footwork.

    Of the two, I’d guess Stacey has the potential, but it has been Jon who’s been seeing what little minutes there are between the two.

  12. Just saying
    10:24 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    nope, neither will contribute this year, Poole has the best chance, but unfortunately if its not this year, it may be never. Poole or Hood will not see the floor next season, and we know how Cal recruits, so if its not now, its probably never

  13. cdc_uky
    10:31 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Hood should be sitting out this year (post-transfer) at a school where he can play. I like him. I want him to be great. But, there will always be someone better in front of him…or two people. Poole has more upside now and he will never see the floor next year.

  14. Jesus is the ONLY way to Heaven!
    10:31 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    8) you’re seeing last week’s rankings. Not out yet for this week.

  15. Art Vandalay
    10:37 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Hood just isn’t athletic enought to take it to the rim. He’s gonna have to find a role as a shooter in Cals system. Watch 2 minutes of a game with Hood in the lineup and its evident that he’s the least athletic player on the floor. That being said, if he ever finds a way to consistently spot up he will contribute.

    Poole doesn’t get as much time because we currently have Lamb, Knight, and Liggins. If he was 2 inches taller and could play the 4 (or even the 3) he would get a lot more time. Right now his game is much more suited to SG and its the one spot we haven’t had foul trouble or needed depth there. At 6’4″ he’s not tall enough for the 3/4 spot and can’t play PG, so his role has been limited so far.

    I’m convinced that both are gonna provide us depth off the bench in a few years though.

  16. 3 fan
    10:43 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Neither Hood nor Poole will ever get playing time at UK. If they can’t get on the floor this year, how do you think they get on the floor next year? Transfer time.

  17. RidgeRunner
    10:47 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    We have 6 players. Period. You can analyze and draw up scenario’s all you want including Hood, Vargas, etc…even having a good game to wet the appetite. But the bottom line now and into the tourney will be we have 6 players.

    Our only hope was Kanter and that possibility is hanging on my a hair.

  18. fish
    10:51 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    this team really needs vargas to step it up…if he can give 10 solid productive mts a game, uk goes from a top 12 team to a top 5 team

  19. mudcat
    10:51 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    I think the better question is…which one red-shirts next year? or do both?

  20. RUPPS_rhetoric
    10:54 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    And if per chance Louisville only drops 2 spots that shows that the voters are giving us a ton of credit.

  21. AlwaysTrueBlue(ATB)
    10:55 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    You know, why does there always have to be a problem. The experts are looking for a reason to say the Cats are not good or they have some reason for failure. The reality is that solid teams really don’t need to go deeper than 7 guys. All we really need out of Vargas, Hood, and Poole are the ability to play defense. Cal has stated this several times and I completely agree with it.

    The only time they were really called upon was during the UCONN game. They were asked to go in and keep the game close and they were not able to because they didn’t play defense. These guys are important but they need to be ready to compete when called upon and they need to know what they need to do which is limit the other teams scoring, keep the game close until the other guys can come back in.

    We have plenty of depth at the 1/2/3 spots and honestly Hood can play minutes if we get into foul trouble if and only if required.

    The problem we have is what happens if our bigs get in foul trouble. We have to go small or we have to rely on Vargas.

    I really think the approach now has been determined to go small and learn to play some zone which I think is the right approach. We have plenty of depth and these guys on the bench need to know their roles. We are fine.

  22. BigBlueFan31
    11:00 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    My 8th grade cousin could come up with better crap than BTI. ‘If we get this guy to do this, we’d be this.’ WE ARE WHAT WE ARE!!! And what we are is not too bad….

    15. You are crazy! I bet he could posterize you very nicely. The fact is, he is a good player. He’s just not as good as the 7 playing before him. Before you say he is not athletic, go check out his dunk contest dunks during the Derby City Classic prior to coming to UK. Or just watch some of the blue-white scrimmage from earlier this year. I think Cal will get the chance to play both hood and Poole during SEC play. Then, we will find out whether he has what it takes or not.

  23. Redshirt Both
    11:09 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    #19, that’s a good question. I’d say redshirt both. After our whole team leaves for the NBA after next season, we’re going to need these guys. After a redshirt year and another year under calapari, theses 2 could be our starting backcourt in 2013. Do you guys remember Jeff Shephard doing something similiar?

  24. Jon Hood Tweet
    11:11 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Had meat today – good. Had taters with it – good.

  25. john4uk
    11:35 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    A lot experts on here don’t deem to get it.Wnen a kid is put unto a game and given a minute of pt,it’s very hard to be productive.When they have been given opportunites to play a little more extensive,they have produced.Hood has a lot of upside and can be a contributor.Let’s not be too eager to be so ritical of he and Poole at this stage of the season.

  26. Art Vandalay
    11:42 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Harrellson has become a solid contributor for us this year. Last year would you have thought he would not only be starting, but also grabbing the number of rebounds that he is?

    Players develop and mature over time. That’s the reason there are many making the argument that experience wins games in March.

    To write off two kids this early in their college careers is foolish.

    They will develop over time and just because they aren’t one and done type talent doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to be contributors for us as upper classmen.

    We will absolutely have to have kids like this in the program to balance out the one and two year players that Cal is known for bringing in and receive all the press and attention.

  27. J hood
    11:43 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    just keep hating with your slow non-athletic white boy comments. seems i remember a dude named jeff sheppard that became uk’s best player and won a championship game for them once given a chance!

  28. JplongOHA
    11:49 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    4) One of the reason Hood does not play is that he has tried to take it to the hole before and it ends poorly, just look at the 15 second stretch in the ND game when a guy ripped a rebound from him and scored so Hood came down and thought he was still in high school, took two dribbles for a pull up and got blocked then dove after the guy to commit a foul, he will never play until he can do something someone else can’t, he’s only chance is to become a great shooter.
    22) No one ever said Hood couldn’t jump, he is 6’7 and yes I’m sure could posterize anyone posterize anyone on this website, more things than jumping go into being athletic like lateral quickness and speed, both of which Hood has little.

  29. Big D
    11:52 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Probably going to need both of them at some point. As long as the season is now, a rotation of six is going to wear on these guys, even though they are kids.

  30. You cant handle the Truth
    11:52 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    John, You are NO Jeff Shepard.

  31. tom
    11:55 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    lets get our mind off of Enes first.
    Secondly, let Cal do as he mentioned in post game presser…that being his commitment to work with those coming off (or sitting the bench)in order to improve their game.
    Thirdly, work hard on Eloy. Just help him become good enough to hold court when he takes floor minutes from Harrelson. Seems like Josh can do the job IF he stays out of foul trouble. Maybe focus with Eloy just on one or two things…rebounding and shot alteration. Don’t put the scoring pressure on him.
    Fourth, give Poole some minutes. I agree with others here who think Poole has the best chance of becoming a regular on the bench rotation.
    Jon Hood, love the guy, but its been a couple years now and he doesn’t look much better than he did his freshman year. Lost on defense but might be able to shoot for us someday.

    just spitballin’

  32. Cats100222000
    11:56 am January 3, 2011 Permalink

    I think Poole should get more minutes..and he probably will against Penn,Auburn, and LSU. I think if Hood’s minutes dont increase he’ll transfer at the end of the season. If he’s not ready to contribute this year he won’t the next two years with all the talent coming in.

  33. mjj2k+
    12:10 pm January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Poole has a chance to at least get into the rotation before he leaves, although probably not this year. Hood, not so much.

    Calipari recruited Poole for some of the same reasons he kept Liggins around. Poole is a strong-bodied, athletic wing, with the potential to be a defensive force who can guard 3 different positions effectively.

    Cal did not recruit Hood, and Hood’s only real shot to be a major part of the rotation would be as a designated shooter, ala Dodson. And so far, he hasn’t shown any ability to do that.

  34. Confucius
    12:19 pm January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Hood needs to transfer to WKU. Where our team is at now supersedes his talent level. Cal took the Billy G recruit to please the people of Kentucky and it isn’t working out. Also, he will never get time on the court unless he starts putting time in the gym and hitting some weights. He gets thrown around like a rag doll. I think Poole could play a pivotal role as a 6th man his junior and senior years, but he has to start working at it now in practice. Even if he just improves his offense a little, defense is 50% of the game and his athleticism will prove to be a valuable asset. With all these possible one and done players, he will also need to become a vocal leader in the future to help the new pups out.

  35. fish
    12:49 pm January 3, 2011 Permalink


  36. bung
    1:14 pm January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Hood can do it.

  37. bung
    1:16 pm January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Hood seems the type that needs to play long enough to get tired so he can relax

  38. 44 STICHES
    1:21 pm January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Hood needs to transfer right down I-75 and play for Eastern.

  39. BigBlueFan31
    1:43 pm January 3, 2011 Permalink

    28. I still disagree with you on his athletic ability. He does make some mistakes, but that does not make him un-athletic. I think the guy wants to do so well that when he actually gets a chance to play he gets nervous, which causes him to make mistakes. I see him being a significant part of our team during SEC play.

    34. You might want to look into recruiting info from when Hood was coming out. One of the reasons Cal kept Hood was because he was also recruiting him at Memphis. Where was Liggins at in his playing career as a sophomore folks? There is still time for Hood to contribute. Not everyone is an All American by their sophomore year at UK.

  40. babiesmama
    3:04 pm January 3, 2011 Permalink

    hood makes me cringe with agony. WKU does sound good for him.

  41. Grayson
    4:06 pm January 3, 2011 Permalink

    Poole all the way Hood halfway

  42. Richard
    5:08 pm January 3, 2011 Permalink

    There is a reason Hood doesn’t get any minutes and Cal knows better than we do why. Redshirt him? I don’t think so! He needs to move on to a smaller school where he will get to play.