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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Preview: The X-Factor


After reading a lot of pundits talk about how good UK will be this year I began thinking about what one player really needs to contribute to win a national championship this year. I have come up with one name: Mr. Stacey Poole Jr.

Before you start screaming hear me out. I know he didn’t play much at all last year (2.8 minutes per game), and didn’t do much scoring when he did play (less than 1 point per game), but look at what this upcoming team needs. This team has plenty of big players from Terrence Jones to Anthony Davis to Kyle Wiltjer to Eloy Vargas. I don’t see depth being an issue in the frontcourt as it was last year. On the wing there is Darius Miller, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and even Jon Hood who has shown he can play a few minutes a game and should improve for his junior year. Where UK is not deep is the two guard spots. I know Cal just puts the five best players on the court no matter their position but the fact is UK has big wing players, both 6-7 and it is hard to ask them to guard speedy guards in certain games.

At guard to start the season UK has Marquis Teague and Doron Lamb, and well, that is it. If Teague is in foul trouble or needs a break most believe Lamb will move to the point, which I have no problem believing he can play. However, what happens if the other team has speedy guards? Darius is a great wing player but does have problems guarding quick, small guards. The answer is Stacey Poole. Poole came out of high school remember ranked anywhere from #33 to #67 in the 2010 high school rankings. Most players in that range struggle at the beginning, as did Poole apparently in practice and during the games.

Poole however, has an advantage over most players ranked in that area coming out of high school, as he is a great athlete. Poole was known in high school as a freak athlete who is quick and a great leaper who could defend and attack the basket with explosiveness and power. Poole showed during the Notre Dame game last season he can hit big shots when he was in the game late in the first half and UK was reeling and he hit a big three to give UK the momentum. If he can guard effectively using his physical tools, and can grasp the offense so that he can attack the basket as he did so well in high school he could be a big factor next season.


If Poole can play spot minutes next year and contribute on both ends, but more importantly on defense, then I think he could be the X-factor for the team next season. He would be able to give both Teague and Lamb breaks during the game, which would keep them more fresh and keep them out of foul trouble. When Twany Beckham is eligible in the Spring Poole might not be needed as much if Beckham can provide back up support for Teague, but even still Poole would provide great depth at the guard spot.

If Poole can play as I predict he will this upcoming season, Kentucky will have no depth issues as they did last season and could be poised for a great season. Also maybe we should institute a new award for comeback player of the year, say the Jorts Award? Just saying.

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