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By LARRY VAUGHT
David Ridley, a Kentucky native, now lives in Jacksonville, Fla., but he remains a Kentucky basketball fan. So is his son, Luke, a freshman at Providence High School and teammate of recent UK commit Stacey Poole.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Stacey is a dandy. He can jump out of the gym,Ã¢â‚¬Â said David Ridley. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sometimes some players get together for a dunking contest and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot of fun to watch.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are Wildcat fans, but even with that said itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s obvious Stacey has a lot of talent. Basketball is not real big here, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a big-time player. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fun to watch play and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a great, great kid. He has a great father that is involved in all parts of AAU, too. Stacey can slash and score and he can really, really jump. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an explosive player that can take it up and throw it down on about anybody. When you watch him play, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty electric.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Luke Ridley has known Poole since late in the summer when Poole transferred to Providence for his senior season. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think he is a great player and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s definitely earned every right to be considered among the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top 100 players,Ã¢â‚¬Â the high school freshman said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Not only can he drive, but he can pull up and score or rise up and dunk over you. If he gets wide open one on one, he just throws it down with power. He goes hard. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very, very explosive.
Poole has impressed Luke Ridley with his defense, too.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is a tenacious defense. His tenacity is crazy. When he gets down to guard, there is no getting by him. It did suprrise me a little bit how hard he plays on defense. He gets after it more than I expected someone that good would. He has that extra gear almost that he can kick it into when he has to and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll do that on defense as well as offense,Ã¢â‚¬Â Luke Ridley said.
Perhaps John Calipari should give Luke Ridley, who dreams of playing for UK, an assist for PooleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s commitment.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He wears his Kentucky Nike T-shirt and Calipari T-shirt all the time. Maybe he had an influence on Stacey,Ã¢â‚¬Â David Ridley laughed and said.
Luke Ridley is already thinking ahead to seeing Poole play at UK. His grandfather, Doug Ridley, lives in Paducah. His other grandfather, Joe Brandel, lives in Jacksonville now but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a former UK football player.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think we will definitley come see him play for the Big Blue and visit my grandpa at the same time. That will be a great trip,Ã¢â‚¬Â Luke Ridley said.
But what would he tell UK fans is the best thing about going to have Stacey Poole playing for Kentucky?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Not only will he be good, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll work hard in the classrom. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be a perfect fit for the offense coach Calipari wants to run,Ã¢â‚¬Â Luke Ridley said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think Stacey is a major pickup for John Calipari and everybody will eventually see that.Ã¢â‚¬Â