VAUGHT: Q & A with Stacey Poole

His father, Stacey, scored 1,678 points to rank fourth on Florida's all-time scoring list, but Stacey Poole Jr. was the first signee in John Calipari's top-ranked recruiting class in 2010. The 6-4 guard averaged 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists per game as a senior. He shares these insights on his family, career and future:

Question: What did your father teach you about basketball, and how much did he influence your basketball career?

Poole: "My dad has influenced me a lot in life in general. My dad has played a big part in my basketball and also in life. He has given me a lot of advice and things to work with in basketball and life, too. I am just thankful for him. I am proud of my dad and he helped turn me into a great young man."

Question: Did you cause him to take some grief from fans when you didn't go to Florida like he did?

Poole: "Not really. He told me to go where I was happy and felt comfortable. He didn't want me to go to Florida because of him or go to Kentucky because of who is there. I just had to make a decision. The decision I felt best was Kentucky."

Question: Did your decision to come to Kentucky surprise people back home who might have assumed you would go to Florida?

Poole: "A lot of people assumed I would go to Florida, but a lot also assumed I wouldn't go to Florida. So it was like in between. I just felt like home when I went to Kentucky instead of Florida."

Question: Was your mother also a good college athlete?

Poole: "She was. She did her thing a little bit. She has influenced me, too. She is tough. She stays on me. Sometimes I think she is more passionate for the game of basketball than I am. She is like that. She is a good lady. Just like my dad, she has given me advice and led me the right direction."

Question: If you strayed, who got you back on the right direction?

Poole: "I would say Dad. He would tighten me up. ‘Hey man, you have to get on the right track.' I really think he knew how important it was for me to stay on the right track because he has been there. He has done that. He already knew what I was going to go through. He just did what he had to do with me."

Question: What impact did the popularity of basketball in Kentucky have on your decision to come to UK?

Poole: "It did make an impact. It was one of the reasons I came here."

Question: Do you feel overshadowed in your recruiting class?

Poole: "I don't feel like that at all, because they are good players just like me. We compete out on the floor. It's up for grabs. They are good, I am good. The reason I came is because I wanted to win the national championship. With us combined, we have the pieces to the puzzle and we have a really good chance to win the national championship."

Question: Could you be this year's Eric Bledsoe who turns into a big surprise?

Poole: "I could be. I do think about that sometimes. Eric was a good player, but was underrated. He did his thing on the court and made it."

Question: What did you learn during the practices for the exhibition games in Canada and then playing in the three games?

Poole: "I learned how hard I can play. Back in high school, you played hard, but in college you have to step it up a notch. The game is faster. You always have to move. Everything is different. You have to do everything the coaches tell you to do. I like it and enjoy it."

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