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Coach says Poole is ‘great kid, super athletic’


Chip Stroud, the 27-year-old assistant coach at Providence High School in Jacksonville, Fla., describes himself as a “basketball nut.” Since he had friends who also went to the University of Kentucky, he knew the passion UK fans have for basketball and wanted to make sure one of his players — Stacey Poole — would not be overwhelmed by the Big Blue hysteria.

“I told him, ‘These guys bleed blue and it is their lifeblood. Are you sure that is what you want?’” Stroud said. “But he loved Kentucky and is really excited about it. He liked everything about it and I think it will be a great place for him.”

The 6-5, 180-pound Poole announced last week he would sign with the Wildcats in November. He’s another four-star recruit for coach John Calipari.

Some might wonder why Poole has changed schools for his senior season. Stroud says there’s an easy explanation.

“He’s been here since about July, but we played against him every summer at his previous school,” Stroud said. “We’re familiar with his game, and we know he’s a great kid as well. Overall, this is a good situation for him and us.

“There was a coaching change at his previous school. His previous school also got rated as a ‘F’ school. Our coach is very well known and guys who want to get better athletically and academically come to play for him. Patrick Young, a 6-9 kid who is going to Florida, did the same thing for his senior year to get the coaching and overall atmosphere here,” Stroud said.

“There was nothing negative about the transfer here. Academics at his previous school were down and his coach left. We have kids graduate here and then college is easy academically. I am not saying he’s  a 4.0 (grade-pointa average) student, but he’s working hard toward that.”

He apparently worked hard to make a name for himself during the summer, too. He played well at the NBA Camp and the Reebok All-America Camp. He averaged 15.8 points per game at the NBA camp. The only player who scored more was point guard Josh Selby, another Calipari recruiting target.

“He is just super athletic. He does things that only guys that play at Kentucky, North Carolin and Duke can do. He’s very athletic in the open court. He plays hard. He’s a great defender. He gets his offense by getting to the hole,” Stroud said.

“He can score outside, too, if needed. That is his biggest weakness, if he has one. His 3-point shot needs work, but he’s the total package in every other spot. He has spent time on his shooting and has improved. He can do just about everything and even his 3-point shooting is not what I would call a major weakness. It’s just not the best part of his game.”

Program he came from they just preached be more athletic and not have teo play as hard, providence is school where never blessed super athletic kid. we streess defense. he leraning to play hard every possession.
today is he our hardest working player, no. but see steps he not same player was three weeks ago. He wants to be good.”

And what kind of person is he off the court?

“He is a yes sir, no sir type of kid. Kids at providence love him. I teach at the middle school. He comes by and is really good with kids. When they found out he was going to Kentucky, they all wanted to talk to him,” Stroud said. “He’s very polite. I have not seen him be rude to any teachers or disrespectful to anyone, and I don’t think I ever will. I have seen nothing but good things with his attitude and behavior. That’s why I say he really is a great kid.”

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  1. waynecat28

    Sounds Like a good get for Cal and the cats. Im amazed at how fast Cal has turned this around. Im realy excited about the season and cant wait for it to start. People can say what they want about coach Cal but im sure the guys saying nasty things would love to have him on there sideline I know im sure gladd he is on ours. Larry love your blogg read it everyday. GO BIG BLUE!

  2. Jim Boyers

    A super talented, hard working, respectful, well grounded high school student athlete who actually cares more about the “student” part? Are you sure this article isn’t about Patrick Patterson? I hope, just like PP, that Poole isn’t “too good to be true”.

  3. larry vaught

    Thanks Waynecat28 for the kind words. Tell your UK friends about it, too.
    You and Jim are both right to be excited about Cal and Poole. Suddenly it is really fun to be covering UK basketball again

  4. UKhoopshysteria

    Larry just wanted to say I enjoy reading your blog everyday. It is one of the premier places to find solid information and insight from a knowledgable source affiliated with our program. Hope Vaught’s Views continues its success….thanks for all the hardwork you put into the site.

  5. larry vaught

    glad you liked it and thanks for all those kind words. I try to do all I can to get the info out there for folks like you

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