2008 Focus: Andy Poling

When people talk about elite high school basketball players from the state of Oregon these days, two names always come to mind: Kevin Love and Kyle Singler. Time to add another name to the list.

Well, you can add another name to that list: Andy Poling.

Poling is a 6-foot-11, 215-pound rising sophomore big man from Westview High (Ore.) who runs the court well, blocks and alters shots – and can also score in the low-post with a nice jump hook from either baseline despite his lithe frame.

``I feel like I'm ahead of the game," Poling said of his offensive development. "Part of the reason is because I play in the older division."

Poling teams up with rising senior Phil Nelson for the Portland Panthers. While he and Love, considered arguably the top big man in the Class of 2007 in the entire country, are fairly close in proximity, they haven't gone up against one another in more than two years.

``It'd be nice to play against him," Poling said. "He's really got the best for the game I've ever seen."

Poling turns 16 in October, so he still has plenty of time to work on improving his strength. He averaged 12 points, seven boards and 3.5 blocks as a freshman at Westview and it's no surprise that he looks up to Tim Duncan.

``I love to watch his post moves," Poling said. "He's not really a power guy and I know I'll never be a power player, either. I'll be able to bulk up, but I'll have to use mostly finesse."

``For me, the hardest part right now is the weight issue," he added. "I was at 185 pounds a little more than a year ago. If I let it slip for a little while, it really hurts me. I have to be focused all the time, make sure I lift weights and always eat right."

Eating right means digesting as much as possible. Poling starts his day with about a half-dozen pieces of French toast, then has a couple of sandwiches for lunch and a common dinner is steak. In between meals, it's protein shakes and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

As for some of the schools that are already targeting the big guy, he was already at UCLA's fundamentals camp last summer – and also mentions Oregon State, Washington and Arizona.

``I'm looking for somewhere that I can go where we can compete for four years," Poling said. "I'm not necessarily saying I need to be a huge player as a freshman, but I'd like to get a decent amount of playing time."

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