The Wolverine

March 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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80 THE WOLVERINE MARCH 2018 "You can always improve on de- fense," Poole acknowledged. "Being a freshman, you learn the physicality and the right spots to be. Ham, he's in a situation where you rarely see him miss us, because he has so much experience. "The more experience you get when you're out there, when we're playing or just practicing, it makes it easier." DEVELOPING THE SWAG Poole isn't any stranger to coming off the bench and performing. Amaz- ingly, he served as a sixth man in his final prep season. Of course, that involved La Lumi- ere School in La Porte, Ind. The Lak- ers went 29-1 in Poole's senior sea- son, earning the 2017 Dick's High School Boy's National Champion- ship. Poole averaged 13.9 points per game while shooting a sterling 89.7 percent from the free throw line, and taking in stride his role. Prior to that, he starred at Milwau- kee King High School, scoring 940 points in three campaigns. He aver- aged 18.2 as a junior, 14.4 as a sopho- more and 7.8 as a freshman. He paced those teams to consecu- tive Milwaukee City Basketball cham- pionships, and after moving on to La Lumiere he reached No. 51 in ESPN's national rankings for the class of 2017. Despite the move as a senior, Poole takes pride in the toughness required to emerge from Milwaukee and the basketball played in that area. "It's a mindset," Poole said. "Com- ing from Milwaukee, everything is tough out there. In the hometown, nothing was ever given to me. Whether it's a fifth-year senior or a fourth-year senior, somebody that's going to the NBA, I'm on the court just like you are. I put in the same work that you put in. "I want to go out there and be bet- ter than you. That's all it is, mentally. When you have that mindset, you want to be great and be the best pos- sible person you can. That confidence rubs off on people." Poole clearly loves the excitement and energy he both draws from and creates inside Crisler Center. The crowd has adopted him like a favor- ite cousin, one who can provide the spectacular at any moment. The Maize Rage declared a "Poole Party" for Michigan's home game against Minnesota Feb. 3. They re- ceived an overtime thriller of a win, 76-73, despite Poole drawing the do- nut on the scoreboard and winding up 0 of 4 on his three-point shots. That won't happen often. When he's on, so are the Wolverines and their crowd. So too is Poole him- self, who delights in the roar from a Crisler crowd that has often been accused of remaining too sedate. Something about Poole provides the antidote, and he relishes those moments. "This is the stuff I used to dream about when I was a kid," he said. "Crisler just gets super excited when I come in. It's such warm vibes in the student section. "I'm able to get engaged with the fans, and make it tougher for the op- posing team. It's amazing. You see Michigan's Best Freshmen Under John Beilein John Beilein loves veteran players, like any coach. He's still featured a host of rook- ies who proved highly effective in their first go-around. Here's a look back at the five most productive first-year players under Beilein. 1. Trey Burke, G, 2011-12 — The Big Ten Freshman of the Year helped lead the Wolverines to the Big Ten title, scoring 504 points in 33 starts. He averaged 14.8 per game, along with setting the Michigan freshman assist record (156). Burke also averaged 3.5 rebounds per contest, and led the team in steals (31) and blocks (13). 2. Tim Hardaway Jr., G, 2010-11 — Hardaway made the All-Big Ten freshman team, scoring 485 points and averaging 13.9, along with 3.8 rebounds per contest. He set a U-M record with 76 made three-pointers as a freshman and started all 35 Michigan games. 3. Glenn Robinson III, F, 2012-13 — Robinson proved a key part of Beilein's best recruiting class, one that surged to the NCAA Tournament title game as freshmen. He made the Big Ten All-Freshman squad, starting all 39 Michigan games. He scored 428 points, averaging 11.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 57.2 percent from the field. 4. Manny Harris, G, 2007-08 — The Wolverines weren't good when Beilein first arrived, but Harris was. He scored 516 points as a rookie, averaging 16.1 per game. He set a U-M rookie record with 156 free throw makes, while leading the Wolverines in scoring, minutes (33.0 a game) and steals (1.4 an outing) He shot 81.7 percent from the line, and averaged 4.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. 5. Nik Stauskas, G, 2012-13 — Stauskas rode the freshman wave to the national title game as well in his rookie season. He played in all 39 Michigan games, scoring 430 points with an 11.0 average. He connected on 44 percent from three-point range on the year, including a 6-of-6 effort against Florida in the NCAA Tournament, help- ing the Wolverines to the Final Four. He also recorded 52 assists. — John Borton Poole "Whether I'm doing what I'm supposed to do, putting the ball in the bucket or bringing energy to the team, having swag is just a part of my game." Trey Burke was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year for the 2011-12 sea- son, the only winner of the award during the Beilein era. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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