UK Recruiting Notebook: Stacey Poole
By: Westin Stahl
NOTE: Dustin Rumbaugh never posted a bio on Stacey Poole so I decided to step up and write one.
Position: Small Forward
Weight: 200 lbs
Stacey Poole was a standout player for the Florida Gators in the early 90’s. He came out of high school in 1989 as a highly touted McDonald’s All-American in an SEC class that featured Shaquille O’Neal and Allan Houston. Despite three years of getting thumped by the Unforgettables, Poole would go on to a great career and currently ranks fourth on Florida’s all-time scoring list. After leaving the University of Florida, Stacey Poole was drafted in 1993 with the first overall pick of the CBA by the Washington Wizards Hartford Hellcats. Stacey Poole’s son has committed to play basketball at the University of Kentucky in 2010.
-Wait, that’s who I’m supposed to write about? Let us begin again.
Stacey Poole Jr., fresh off of leading Jacksonville’s Providence School to a Florida 2A state championship, was the recruit who got the ball rolling in this top-ranked recruiting class. He is the first Jacksonvillian to don the blue and white since AJ Stewart did over an eternity ago. Poole chose the Cats over a bunch of other schools who jumped out of the race when they found out Calipari had made the offer. In high school, Poole co-starred with Billy Donovan’s prized recruit, Patric Young who decided that he didn’t like having the letter K at the end of his name. As a result of sharing the spotlight, Poole was flying very much under the radar before he signed with UK.
Poole will essentially be fighting for a starting spot with Doron Lamb; however Calipari has been quoted as saying that Poole has the versatility to play multiple positions. Poole excels on the defensive end as he uses his muscular frame to lock down the opposition and crash the boards. Like every player on the team last year, Poole is just an average outside shooter; however Poole is explosive off the dribble and possesses a knack for scoring within 15 feet of the basket. Poole has been compared by some to Kelenna Azubuike because of his strength and athleticism and ability to attack the basket. While Poole may not be labeled as a one and done type player, he certainly has the ability to earn some valuable playing time and provides a scoring threat any time he is in the game. Because Poole is not likely to head to the NBA for at least a couple of years, Poole will find himself in a leadership role as our roster will undoubtedly result in a high turnover of five-star recruits.
If Stacey Poole Sr. is any indication of what Stacey Poole Jr. will become, we are in for a great 3-4 years of watching this young man. Even though Stacey Poole Sr. went an abysmal 1-5 against the Wildcats during his time in Gatorade country, the elder Poole has no problem sending his son to Lexington. Like the old saying goes, “If you can’t beat ‘em, have your son join ‘em.”
Can He Get Some Respect?
By: Rhonda Williams (aka GrannyCat)
Stacey Poole, Jr. has become the Rodney Dangerfield in this group of incoming freshmen. Even on these hallowed pages, he has been described as “the forgotten man of this recruiting class”. During a recent post, welcoming our new boys to campus, the other recruits were honored with a link to their basketball highlight reel. It would appear that Stacey’s greatest accomplishment is a 30 second freestyle rap. Just to clear things up, Stacey is a great basketball player, from a great basketball family. As most everyone knows, his father was a McDonald All-American, and a Florida legend, whose names appears all over their record books. His mother was a standout athlete who played basketball and ran track. His parents were high school sweethearts and his younger brother Solomon (class of 2013) is already being touted as a basketball phenom. But Stacey is much more than just his family. He is a skilled player who has been praised for his athleticism, his quick first step and his rebounding abilities.
I think the issue here may be marketability, and I believe, with the right marketing strategy, Stacey can be a fan favorite among the geriatric branch of the Big Blue Nation. He possesses many qualities that will play well to those of us who talk to ourselves while shopping, pull our pants up under our arm pits and who drive with our turn signals on.
Steadiness and Predictability
When your target fan base is a group of people who can’t remember their children’s names or where they parked the car (if they can still see over the dash to drive) it is best not to change your appearance too often or make statements that you are going to do one thing and then change your mind. Unlike some of the other young men, Stacey’s appearance, including the length and style of his hair, has remained consistent. This is helpful for those of us who have to study flash cards and take Ginkgo Biloba to be able to identify players before camping out for Big Blue Madness tickets. In addition to his steadiness in looks, Stacey has also proven himself to have a steadiness of character. There is nothing that tics Granny off more than when someone says they are coming and then doesn’t show up. We count on these things you know? He visited campus during Governor’s Cup Weekend. During interviews, he said that he enjoyed the visit and would make his decision soon. Less than one week later, he committed to the Wildcats. And…..most importantly….he remained committed….no revolving hats for this young man! And, he signed a National Letter of Intent! No invisible ink, no pinkie swears, no “out” clauses. Just pen to paper.
Excitement and Enthusiasm
You might question why people, who have to carry Nitroglycerin tablets in little bottles around their necks, would want excitement? Here it is in a nutshell…..we love anything that reminds us that we aren’t dead! And nothing gets our “Hoverounds” going more than a young man who is excited about being a Wildcat! From his first visit, he said, “The fans got me. They blew me away.” He wanted to come to Kentucky. He wanted to be coached by Cal. In every interview since his decision, he has talked about what an opportunity this is. He doesn’t seem intimidated by his higher ranking teammates. He says that he believes in himself and is confident about his game. Nothing gets an old blue haired granny’s heart beating more than that!
Politeness and the Ability to Rhyme
The one trait that is universally important to old folks is good manners. It is important to be polite, treat others as you would like to be treated, and to always say please and thank you. Stacey is a very well-mannered young man. He speaks eloquently, has a lovely smile and even said hello to his “Nanna” during his infamous freestyle video. (You’ve got to love a boy who gives a shout out to his Granny!). And, speaking of the video, I believe that his talent for spinning a rhyme might prove helpful should that nice young man Drake come back to town and invite our boys up on stage again.
So, as you can see, Stacey has much to offer the confused, withered, crusty curmudgeon. I am however hopeful that he might also prove to offer some exciting game play for those folks in Rupp Arena who don’t wear Depends.
Poole Hand Luke
By: Mack Perkins
Before Morehead State made its journey to Rupp to open the Calipari Era on November 13th, 2009, one recruit believed, literally without seeing. Stacey Poole Jr. was the first 2010 commitment for Calipari. Coach stated at the time “Stacey Poole is…. a slasher who can play multiple positions and a defender that is capable of shutting down people. Stacey really wanted to play for us and we’re glad to have him as a part of the UK family.”
Since that time, UK has gained 4 more star players, all rated higher than Poole. Did Poole retract his commitment? Did he pout or complain? No, he showed up to summer school just like the rest of the recruits and is competing with Miller, Lamb, and Liggins for the Small forward/Big Guard starting spot. Poole will never be accused of not having self confidence.
So who is this kid from Florida?
Let’s start with his father, Stacey Poole, Sr, Mr. Poole played on the Flordia Gators from 90-93 and was a McDee’s All American. Stacey Sr. had 2 first team All-SEC Seasons, honorable mention All-American, is fourth on Florida’s career scoring list (not saying much there….sorry had to), and led his team in scoring and rebounding his junior year. Suffice to say, much talent in the blood.
What has Poole brought to the table so far? He is not used to losing for one. His Providence high school team only lost one game last year and that was on the road by 3 points. That’s 33-1 for those counting at home. He was a consistent scorer for his team at 17.3 pts/game, but he was more of a defensive stopper and facilitator. Poole says, “I can go by anybody, and I can score on anybody. I’m not bragging or boasting. I just have confidence. That’s how I feel. I compete, and I work hard.” Anyone want to disagree? I thought not.
Poole does have a weakness (See? He’s just like us), he needs to be a more consistent 3 point threat. He has NBA size and athleticism, add outside shooting and we could be talking lottery pick one day. There are some players in the NBA who have made a career as a defensive stopper and 3 point specialist. Ron Artest and Bruce Bowen come to mind. They can stop the other team’s best player and cause some damage from the perimeter as well.
UK fans don’t want to hear this, but Poole is in the same mold as Terrence Williams, and he was picked 11th overall. Both are 6-5, 6-6 and are terrific all around talents. Younger players that Poole should model himself after are players like Tony Allen (can’t shoot though) and former Marquette guard and now Utah Jazz Guard Wesley Matthews. Matthews averaged 13 points…as a rookie…on the Jazz with 2 all stars on the team. It just goes to show you, teams are always looking for “that” guy.
What will the immediate future hold for Stacey? Calipari liked Ramon Harris last year, because he was “my guy”. Harris always got the loose ball and took on the toughest defensive assignment. On the other hand, Calipari played Bledsoe 30 min/game. Translation: Cal liked Harris’ heart, but loved Bledsoe’s athletic freakness. I believe Poole can be a mixture of the two players and will win Kentucky some games whether by his moxy, his toughness, or his athleticism. You can keep trying to knock ol’ “poole hand, lUKe” down, but he’ll keep getting back up.
Poole’s Open. Let’s Dive In.
By: Terry Settles
Comparisons between Coach Cal’s first Kentucky recruiting class and his second group are inevitable. After the surprising success of the 2009-10 team, fans naturally are going to project how Brandon Knight will fare compared to John Wall and how Enes Kanter will measure up to Boogie’s greatness. Considering that both Wall and Cousins are projected to be top 5 selections in this month’s NBA draft, living up to those lofty standards will be tough for young Brandon and Enes (though the entertainment value for Enes’ Undertaker obsession is limitless).
While some will try to juxtapose Doron Lamb with Eric Bledsoe, they are really not the same type player. Bledsoe came to Kentucky with a point guard pedigree, who because of Wall, was playing last season out of position as a two-guard. Lamb has the advantage of stepping into his natural position from the beginning and will be counted on to deliver outside shooting in the dribble-drive offense.
Terrence Jones and Daniel Orton are complete opposites on the floor. Orton was a defensive force down low, through intimidation and excellent timing on blocks. Jones’ game reminds most of Lamar Odom, without the “ugg-ly sis-ter” baggage. Adding Jones to the lineup was critical to Cal’s vision for 2010-11 and why he refused to concede his talents to the Kentucky AAA School for Headhunting (aka U. Washington).
The one remaining high school recruit is Stacey Poole. Often forgotten, perhaps because he was “only” a four-star recruit, Poole was the first to commit to Cal’s stable for next season. Snatching the Florida legacy from under Ricky Lite’s nose was a Godfather move. As in “We may not need him, but we sure as heck aren’t going to let you use him against us.” Poole comes to Kentucky ranked #33 in Jerry Meyer’s Rivals.com site (ESPN has him ranked #51). Meyer describes Poole as “an elite athlete’s (sic) in regard to explosiveness, strength and body control. He excels at attacking the basket, drawing contact and finishing. An average outside shooter at this point, Poole has promise in this regard based on his touch near the basket on the move. A solid wing ball handler, Poole also has the ability to dominate his position as a defender and rebounder.”
Poole averaged 17.3 points per game as a junior. As a senior, his production dropped to nearly 13 pts/game, but his Jacksonville Providence team went 31-1 and won the Florida Class 2A championship. The kid comes to Kentucky as a winner, a trait I will gladly swap for any meaningless high school stats or ranking.
KSR reported yesterday that Poole will be assigned jersey number 2 next season, a number previously worn by Rashaad Carruth (ewww) and fan favorite Ravi Moss. With this news, the 14-year-old kid in me immediately thought of a new nickname for Poole, “Doody” (#2/Poole, get it?). I much prefer “Cannonball” (Poole jumps, shoots: splash). Alright, nicknames are not my forte. Forget I mentioned those.
With so many offensive options at Calipari’s disposal next season, Poole’s stock in trade needs to be on the defensive end. He must commit to becoming a lock-down defender on the opponents’ best shooting guard or wing player. At 6’5″ and 200 lbs., he has the size and quickness to embrace that role. His primary characteristic coming in must be positive attitude and to be a team-first guy. He will have all of the built-in excuses for sulking and complaining about playing time. But if he accepts his assignment, Stacey Poole can be a key element in Kentucky’s run at number eight in 2011.
Jump in with both feet Stacey. The water’s fine.
He’s a Junior, but He’s no Baby
By: K.L. Reed
Stacey Poole, Jr. has been flying under the radar for the past couple of months due to good excellent reasons (of course those reasons being the additions of Kanter, Jones, Knight, Vargas, and Lamb) but we need not forget about him so soon. Poole, latest at #33 of Rival’s top 150 prospects for 2010, comes to Lexington via Providence HS in Jacksonville, FL fresh off leading his team to the 2A state championship. Junior, we’ll call him, was our very first pick up of the 2010-2011 team. He chose Kentucky over many other schools, most notably, Florida, where his father, Stacey Poole, Sr. played basketball. From what I’ve read and watched online he seems like a nice, humble young man and does not seem to have a big ego (which we can do without). Also he has already moved to Lexington and is adjusting quite nicely, as seen in pictures with Brandon Knight.
We shouldn’t overlook him though because he is an excellent defender and rebounder at his position. He has several slashing and post up moves when dribbling in the paint and around the basket. His main weakness is his outside shooting which scouts have buzzed about more than those damn vuvuzelas in the World Cup. We all know the 6’5”, 195 pound swingman is going to fit perfectly into Cal’s system, but how can he differentiate himself from the others? Or can he? It seems to me he has the biggest uphill climb ahead of him, besides Vargas for getting minutes. He and Vargas are the only 4 star players coming to UK this year (all others are 5 star).
I see a lot of parallels with DeAndre Liggins. They both were ranked about the same in their respective years coming out of high school, same height, weight and scouting reports said super similar things about them. Obviously, Junior is going to have a much better group of players around him starting out than Liggins did, and a helluva lot more sober capable of a coach. Besides the fact that Liggins has probably the best posture, especially when running, in the history of mankind they are almost twins. I really think he can learn a lot from Liggins and I think it would behoove him to buddy up and have a mentor/mentee relationship with him. To me, it seems in his two years at UK, Liggins has grown up a lot. He will be very effective this season and will be an integral part to our success – hopefully he can be mature enough to give the freshman some advice and let some of his success transfer by example.
Unlucky for Junior, (lucky for us) it’s crazy thinking that the number 33 ranked player in the country coming out of high school might be struggling to get minutes on this team just like last some of last year’s players. Our roster is more abundant (with great players) than [insert your favorite quip]
a. blonde women’s numbers on Tiger Wood’s speed dial
b. coins in Bob Saget’s cuss jar
c. pizza on Kirstie Alley’s buffet plate
d. pre-teens at a Justin Beiber/Jonas Brothers concert
This can only be a good thing because players will be working harder, fighting for those minutes and starting positions, day in and day out in practice and in games. In the end, I foresee him coming off the bench and giving 10-12 minutes each game, giving a spark on either end of the floor, again – kind of like Liggins did last year. So Reed – then he’s a three or four year guy, right? Well of course he is – I really don’t think we could lose Junior after one year. I mean, if he averages right above 3 points, 3 rebounds and 12 minutes a game that would most assuredly keep him another year right? No one has ever left college basketball to turn pro with numbers like that after one year, right?
No one really impressed me. If the contest winner is in this group, they’ll need to step it up in the next round. Mack offered me $5 on Twitter so he automatically advances despite submitting the worst attempt at photoshop I’ve ever seen. Poole Hand Luke is a pretty terrible play on words, too. At least he made an attempt at creativity and ridiculousness. GrannyCat, we get it – you’re old. But you advance because KSR could really use a front row parking spot and BTI needs someone to discuss Murder She Wrote episodes with. That leaves us with K.L., Westin, and Terry. K.L. used a random photo for his post which I’m sure he chose because it’s the first one on Google Image Search. That’s how it’s done at KSR. He’ll move on but we won’t be bringing “Junior” as Stacey Poole’s nickname with him. It was tough choosing between Terry and Westin because they have very similar scouting reports on Poole’s game. I wasn’t a big fan of Westin’s intro and Terry used the word “juxtapose” so he gets the nod. I don’t know what that word means so I’m going to assume he’s a lot smarter than me. Terry, you should’ve automatically been cut and beaten with your keyboard for suggesting that Poole’s nickname be “Doody” because he will wear #2 but I’ll give you a chance to redeem yourself in the next round. I honestly groaned out loud after reading that. Westin, keep your head up my man. This is a blessing in disguise. Trust me.
2a.) Mack Perkins
2c.) K.L. Reed
2d.) Terry Settles
5.) Westin Stahl
I expect that $5 soon, Mack. Seriously.
What We Learned: We’ll leave the Stacey Poole nicknaming to someone else.