Posted by Jeff Borzello
RALEIGH, N.C. – Because of a flight delay, the Dwight Howard Warriors did not arrive at Ravenscroft School (N.C.) until nearly 10 p.m. last Friday at the Tournament of Champions. Despite the late tip time, there were still plenty of media and scouts in attendance, with many staying to watch Solomon Poole, one of the top-25 players in the class of 2013.
As the game went on, and Poole continued to miss outside shots, people began to question his ranking. With the clock winding down, though, Poole reminded everyone why he is so highly touted.
Down one to the Charlotte Nets, Poole put up a stepback jumper that splashed through the net as time expired. That one play demonstrated his quickness, strength and scoring ability, and how tough he is to stop when it all comes together.
It might have been enough to make people forget his early struggles.
“I just focused,” Poole said of the way he bounced back. “I knew I had to keep going. I knew my teammates would pick me up.”
Poole, a 6-foot-1 combo guard from Terry Parker (Fla.), is the younger brother of Kentucky’s Stacey Poole and the son of former Florida standout Stacey Poole Sr. The basketball bloodlines are hard to miss when gauging Poole’s natural talent. He is a big-time scorer who finishes tremendously well in traffic and controls his body effectively in the lane. Poole can beat his man off the dribble and is strong enough to pull-up in the mid-range against defenders. While inconsistent from 3-point range, Poole does have range behind the arc.
Because of his size, though, Poole might have to play the one at the next level, and he knows it.
“I need to work on my pace,” he said. “I need to work on changing speeds.”
A long list of schools are courting the talented sophomore. Poole and his AAU coach, Antwain Tennell, rattled off offers from local schools Central Florida and South Florida, as well as Georgia Tech and South Carolina. Providence, North Carolina, Arizona, Memphis, Florida and Oklahoma State are all showing interest.
Decision time is a long way away for Poole, but he knows what he’s looking for in a school.
“First, academics. You can’t get anywhere without that,” Poole said. “And a coach that makes you better. I want him to tell me what I’m doing wrong.”
Based on the way he makes adjustments during the game, though, it seems Poole is getting by just fine on his own.