Poole, Melvin Back from Rutgers Visits

St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.) wing Mike Poole and Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburg, Mass.) forward Cleveland Melvin both visited Rutgers this week, and now are getting ready to make decisions. Poole talks about what took place on the visit, and the vibe he got from new Rutgers coach Mike Rice. Melvin is down to four schools. Find out what each one offers him.

St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.) wing Mike Poole's trip to Rutgers was quick, but he learned quickly about the personality of new Scarlet Knights coach Mike Rice.

During his unofficial visit, the 6-foot-6 Poole toured the campus and met with several members of the Rutgers staff.

"I got to see the campus, got to talk to the coach for a while,'' Poole said. "He's a very intense guy. He's a guy that doesn't want to lose. He's an energetic guy. He reminds me of myself a little bit.

"I met the guys on the staff, Jim Martelli, who he brought from Robert Morris, and Jim Carr.''

Next on Poole's agenda are unofficial visits to Seton Hall and Boston College before he makes a decision, possibly in the next week.

Right now it is between those three schools, but Poole left open the possibility of waiting "a month" to see if other schools become involved.

"There's no timetable set,'' he said. "Maybe I'll make decision pretty quickly. There's no favorite right now. I'm looking at them all the same.''

Despite being a teammate of Rutgers signee Gilvydas Biruta, Poole said the two haven't talked much about the Scarlet Knights.

In analyzing a program, Poole said he is looking at several factors. Playing time will play a prominent role, and it is available at Rutgers since the Scarlet Knights have six scholarship players in the program and two others signed to enter school in the summer.

"I'm looking for a program that's going to prepare me for the NBA, and where I could help immediately,'' Poole said. "I don't want to sit behind a few guys. I want to play basketball, be a competitor and get better.''

Rutgers is coming off its fourth straight losing season, but Poole doesn't look at it as a rebuilding situation.

"The way Mike Rice was talking,'' Poole said, "I think we could win quickly.''

Meanwhile, Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburg, Mass.) forward Cleveland Melvin finished his official visit to Rutgers on Thursday afternoon. His AAU coach, Anthony Lewis, said the 6-foot-8 Melvin should decide by the end of the weekend where he is going.

"He said it went well,'' Lewis said. "He's talking to his mom and they're trying to make a decision. He got attached to all them. He just got back last night and he is going to talk about.''

Melvin is deciding between Rutgers, DePaul, Seton Hall and Marshall.

"I don't have an leader at this time,'' Melvin said. "I will make my decision by the end of the weekend."

"DePaul probably recruited him the longest. He likes Marshall in the sense you've got the big fish in the small pond. Mike Rice, he knows from his days back at the Hoop Group. There's a connection everywhere around. Seton Hall, closeness and proximity and the Big East.''

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