USC hoops prospect starting to spread wings
Stacey Poole is starting to come out of his cocoon and emerge on the scene, but his personal butterfly effect is a battle of a different type.
"He's a kid that goes into everything with butterflies," said David Jones, AAU coach with Poole's team, the Jacksonville (Fla.) Lee bulls. "But as he goes into the stretch, he demands the ball and he wants to take the big shot."
His butterfly diet must be the recipe for success because Poole's game in the spotlight and the clutch has begun to grab national attention and earn the 6-foot-5 wing prospect respect.
"I'm always nervous before games," Poole said. "I could be playing against my brother, and I'll have butterflies."
Though he wasn't playing his brother when he was at South Carolina's camp a couple of weeks ago, he was still taken back by the Gamecocks' arena.
"It was good," he said. "It was a real good experience. I got a chance to visit the campus another time, I got to play in the arena and I got to visit the town.
"(The arena) was good, it was big. It felt good to be in there."
The recent trek to USC was Poole's third trip to Columbia, S.C., and he was impressed by more than the school on his most recent visit.
"South Carolina has a pretty nice size to it," he said. "It's a college town. It's a lot of people, it's a good town."
The whole vibe rubbed Poole right, especially the fan base. Some knew who he was, and if others didn't, they certainly were trying to figure out.
"It made me feel good," Poole said of the experience, "people trying to figure who I am."
Even though some people in Columbia didn't know who Poole was, the Gamecock coaching staff sure knew, considering they have been hot on Poole's trail since the start of his recruitment.
"It plays a big factor," Poole said of South Carolina's recruiting efforts. "It's a big plus that they've seen me since day one."
As of right now though, Poole claims no leader — despite what websites and word of mouth have been saying about his recruitment.
"I don't know who (said I had a leader) because I don't have a leader, but (South Carolina's) in the mix," Poole said. "I'm just open right now."
Though the Gamecocks aren't the leader, Poole states they sit "comfortable" with him because of the relationship he's built with the staff, especially the focal point Mike Boynton has put on the athletic four-star recruit from Jacksonville.
According to Scout.com basketball recruiting analyst Evan Daniels, Poole is being recruited by California, Oklahoma, Xavier, Indiana, Clemson, South Carolina, Miami, Florida and Florida State - with Indiana, Oklahoma, Clemson and South Carolina drawing the most of Poole's interest.
Schools have seen a different Poole this summer, with an added element to his game.
"I've just been playing my game (this summer). That's all I can do," he said. "I've been playing against some of the players that are some of the best, and I've done pretty good.
"I've added something to my game that they haven't seen before — the jump shot a little bit, and getting to the basket aggressive."
"He's a big 2-guard, he can be a combo," Jones said. "We use him at the point too. He can beat guards, especially smaller guards. He can get to the rim anytime he wants to. He can knock down shots, and he shoots the three with consistency. And he has a good mid-range game."
Hard work is paying off for Poole, but his influence is coming from a former NBA player that has been pushing him to get to where he wants to be — his dad.
"He's been good," said Poole of his dad and former Florida standout, Stacey Poole Sr. "He talks to me every day, he works out for me every day. He's a teacher and a dad. He's been where I want to go, so he's just helping his son get to where he wants to be and help fulfill his dreams."
Poole's dad is the main thing that has helped him break out of his shell and be able to show people what he's capable of.
"I'm a competitor," Poole said. "I want it. I'm just a hard worker. I like to compete."
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