The Wolverine

January 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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60 THE WOLVERINE JANUARY 2017 BY CHRIS BALAS M ichigan class of 2017 shooting guard signee Jordan Poole (6-4, 185, four-star prospect) transferred from Milwaukee King High School to La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere School this fall to face top competition and hone his skills while practicing against outstanding play- ers. He's continued to make strides in all areas as a result, La Lumiere head coach Shane Heirman said in early December. La Lumiere improved to 8-0 with an 89-60 win at Michigan City (Ind.) High Dec. 3, with Poole making five triples and scoring 18 points. He also tallied 20 points in a 91-44 victory against Houston Westbury Christian Dec. 10 in the final game of the Amer- ican Family Insurance Hoophall West in Scottsdale, Ariz. The game was tied at 10-10, but La Lumiere led 41-25 at halftime before pushing the margin to 47 late in the game. The team had scored at least 89 points in its last four games as of Dec. 14, and Poole — shooting 50 percent from three-point range so far this year — improved his average to 15.7 points per contest. "Coach has kind of given me the green light," Poole told The News- Dispatch after the win over Michigan City. "He said, 'If it's hand down, man down, just put it up. Don't have any hesitation.'" And it's a bit uncanny, Heirman told The Wolverine. "The things we knew we were get- ting with Jordan … he has excelled in those beyond our expectations," Heirman said. "His ability to shoot and stretch the floor is incredible. He adds a completely different dynamic to our team." That squad includes a pair of 2017 five-stars in Jaren Jackson and Brian Bowen, both former Michigan tar- gets, and is currently ranked as the No. 1 prep team in the country by USA Today. Poole, a November signee, plays with some swagger and has been a joy to coach, Heirman added. "There are parts of his game he knows he has to work on, and he's been very willing and coachable to try to work on those aspects," he said. "He's got to improve his physi- cality and get stronger. He's got to get a little tighter with his ball han- dling, and just work on the IQ as- pects of the game, understanding po- sitions, rotations and the right reads. "Defensively, he had to make up some ground when he first got here, buying in when he was guarding, and he's improved. He's taking pride in it." You won't find a better teammate, Heirman said. That aspect, along with shooting and passing, are sta- ples for Michigan head coach John Beilein, and Poole fits the bill. "He's awesome, off the charts as a teammate," Heirman said. "He has a contagious energy and enthusiasm about him, and his passing is great … probably the most underrated part of his game." Poole currently is ranked No. 95 in the top 100 for 2017, but if he continues his outstanding play, he could warrant a boost in the future. MICHIGAN'S OTHER 2017 SIGNEES START STRONG Kalamazoo (Mich.) Central stand- out and Michigan signee Isaiah Liv- ers (6-8, 210,'s No. 120 senior nationally and a four-star prospect) got off to a great start in his first two games of the year. In his team's opener, Livers re- portedly blocked a shot against the backboard on one end and then fin- ished off the fast break with a dunk on the other to give Central a 23-10 lead over host Battle Creek (Mich.) Central just a minute into the second quarter on the way to a 67-55 win Dec. 9. "They are a good team, they have a Michigan player on their team and they are bigger than us," Battle Creek Central senior Juan Warren told Livers notched 15 points, 13 re- bounds, five assists, three blocked shots and three steals in the win. That would be just a warm-up. Liv- ers had only six points at the half, but came out in the second and domi- nated against Detroit Western, scoring 23 points, grabbing eight rebounds and blocking four shots in a 62-45 win   BASKETBALL RECRUITING Coach Says Signee Jordan Poole Keeps Improving Through Dec. 14, Poole was shooting 50 percent from three-point range while averaging 15.7 points per game. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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