Hoops pipeline

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Three of the top five scorers on the 2011-12 Tennessee basketball team played AAU ball for the Atlanta Celtics. That could enhance the Vols' chances of landing a heralded member of the current Celtics.

Solomon Poole is a 6-foot-1, 165-pounder who is rated a 4-star prospect and the No. 7 point guard recruit in the Class of 2013 by Scout.com. During the recent KnoxVegas Heat Invitational in Knoxville he admitted that the success of former Celtics Trae Golden, Jordan McRae and Cameron Tatum at Tennessee has his attention.

"Oh, yeah. That's a definite look because we have alumni there," said Poole, who will be a senior at Parker High in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2012-13. "They played with the Celtics, so if they can play there, I can play there, too."

Asked if the Vol trio is trying to lure him to Tennessee, Poole replied: "I talk to them often but they tell me to go where I fit best."

Described by Scout.com basketball analyst Brian Snow as "a freak athlete," Poole has impressive bloodlines. Older brother Stacey recently transferred from Kentucky to Georgia Tech. Their dad, Stacey Sr., played college ball at Florida. Solomon Poole already has offers from Georgia Tech and UCLA among others. He is waiting on an offer from the Vols.

"They offered when Pearl was there," he said.

Poole's contact with current Vol head man Cuonzo Martin has been limited.

"I talked to him once," the prospect said. "He's a cool coach. If I ever got a chance to play for him, I think that would be swell."

Poole's chance to play for Martin may hinge on his continued development as a point guard. Some observers consider him more of a combo guard. For instance, Scout.com's evaluation is as follows:

"Right now Poole is someone who plays on the ball, but his first instinct is to really score. His athleticism is impressive, and is as quick as any player with the ball in his hands. Poole is also just someone who has that knack for being able to score. He does need to get better in terms of making others better, but the talent with him is simply tantalizing."

Celtics assistant Emory Walton has no doubt that Poole's skill set will translate well as a college point guard.

"Solomon's a very competitive player," Walton said. "He does a great job leading his team and he scores the ball very well.

"He's ready right now for college. We're just making sure we can get Solomon to a point where he's ready to be a starter at that level."

Asked to describe his game, Poole replied: "I bring a presence of hard work. I'm going to work hard, play defense, feed off of that, then get my teammates involved."

Poole's AAU performances will be closely scrutinized, since his junior season of high school ball was cut short. He was averaging 15.5 points per game at Parker High last January when Florida's secondary school athletics association suspended him for six weeks after he twice was ejected from games.

In spite of this, Poole reportedly is a low-key young man who is not letting fame go to his head.

"He's handling it pretty well," Walton said. "He's a down-to-earth kid. He doesn't have Twitter, doesn't have Facebook. He's kind of different than most of the kids that come up these days."

When asked about his aversion to social networks, Poole smiled.

"I'm like my name ... Solo," he said. "I just chill."


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