Hoops Hello: Jordan Poole

Submitted by Ace on October 23rd, 2015 at 6:30 PM

Michigan's first offer recipient for 2017 became their first commitment in the class this evening when four-star Milwaukee (WI) Rufus King shooting guard Jordan Poole picked Michigan in a ceremony at his school.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, #19 SG,
#90 Ovr
4* SG,
#104 Ovr
4*, 87, #16 PG 4*, 92, #16 SG,
#83 Ovr
4*, #21 SG,
#92 Ovr

Poole is generally regarded as a top-100 prospect; he's just a couple spots outside ESPN's early top 60 and otherwise makes all the services' top x lists. There's some disparity on his size; Rivals and 247 list him at 6'4" and 180-185 pounds; Scout at 6'3", 175; and ESPN is the outlier at 6'1", 160, which seems quite outdated.


Stop me if you've heard this one before: Poole was a big riser during the latest evaluation period, resulting in a number of big-time offers, including Illinois, Indiana, Marquette, and Michigan. As a sharpshooting combo guard who's developing as a ballhandler, he earned a very intriguing comparison from Scout's Derek Piper ($):

Poole was at his best at the NY2LA Summer Jam in Mequon, Wis. a few weeks ago. He showcased his loaded arsenal at the offensive end, which includes a pure outside stroke, effortless handles and superb court vision. Even playing up at the 17U level, Poole put opposing defenses to the test with everything he brings to the floor.

There’s a reason he has earned the nicknames of “Splash” and “Baby Steph”. Poole operates with a natural smoothness to his game, and his range extends far beyond the three-point line. Poole can splash NBA-range triples with ease and his overall skill set continues to grow. Even taking the role as a facilitator at times, Poole was extremely impressive.

ESPN's evaluation finishes with the very same comparison ($):

Poole is a rangy 2-guard prospect that can knock in jump shots out to 23-feet. He has a smooth effortless release and he understands how to square himself up for the shot. His shot is deadly off the catch and he oozes confidence. His ball skills are coming around and his step-back dribble and crossover are getting tighter. In addition, he is a quality passer and understands angles while feeding the post. He has a decent 1st step and has the ability to utilize the "step through dribble" while tossing in the occasional runner.

Poole is wiry and he'll need to get considerably stronger to withstand physical defenders. He needs to improve his triple threat game, especially his 1st step. In addition, he needs to get more explosive and stronger while trying to finish through contact. His ball handling is solid, but that is another area that needs polishing.

Bottom Line:
Poole has a ways to go before he fills out, but his skill set reminds us of a high school version of Steph Curry.

Now that we all need a cold shower at the thought of a Steph Curry in a John Beilein offense, it's worth noting Curry made huge strides in his shot release, ballhandling, and defense when he got to the NBA. But still. This would be very nice.

247's Andrew Slater has a very detailed, free scouting report from Poole's performance at June's Nike Elite 100 camp (I added paragraph breaks for readability and bolded a few things for emphaiss):

Poole is an excellent three-point shooter, both off of the catch and dribble, but is slightly better off of the catch and from the right-hand side of the arc. The Milwaukee native has a very release, excellent form, and deep range on his shot. While he can penetrate, he seems to prefer to pull up. Although he doesn't have a mature body, at this venue, Poole was able to withstand contact on penetration. He will need to add muscle.

Even though the strength of his game is as a deep knock-down shooter with a good crossover, the right-hander also demonstrated good court vision in transition and off of penetration. The Wisconsin Playground guard needs to be able to finish better with his left hand. While he often created his own shot off of the dribble, he will need to strengthen this area of his game. Poole seems to be a better off-the-ball defender who uses his relatively high basketball IQ to generate steals off of errant or well-telegraphed passes.

At 6'2", Poole, who has average athleticism, has good size for a combo, but will be slightly undersized for a high-major two guard, but doesn't look like he's done growing. While he showed an ability to hit the mid-range shots in drills, he almost exclusively either pulled up from deep beyond the arc or opted to attempt to attack the rim. Poole seemed to demonstrate relatively good leadership ability.

At the same event, Poole also caught the attention of Scout's Brian Snow:

Jordan Poole was definitely one of the breakout players at the camp. The Milwaukee native absolutely lit up the nets from deep with his jumper. When given time and space he was one of the most consistent shooters all weekend, and then he also showed some aptitude for being able to play the point. Running a team is still a work in progress, but he has decent floor vision and can really stretch the court, especially off of ball screens.

Depending on how he hones his ability to run an offense and defend quicker guards, Poole could end up at the one or the two at Michigan; for now, it looks like he'll be a floor-stretching shooting guard who can slide over and play the one in a pinch.


Poole holds offers from Auburn, Bradley, Drake, UW-Green Bay, Illinois, Indiana, Marquette, Memphis, UW-Milwaukee, Nebraska, and Virginia Tech, among a few others. All of the high-major offers came in after the most recent evaluation period.


According to MaxPreps, Poole averaged 14.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists against 1.7 turnovers, and 1.8 steals per game as a sophomore while posting impressive 50/40/80 (2P%/3P%/FT%) shooting splits.


Sophomore highlights:

Shorter sophomore highlights:

Poole's breakout performance at the NY2LA Summer Jam:


Poole looks like an ideal fit at the two in John Beilein's system due to his shooting ability and range. He also has a relatively quick path to playing time; when he arrives in 2017, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman will be the only combo guard type on the roster, and Rahk will be a senior that season. By 2018-19, Poole should be starting alongside 2016 point guard Xavier Simpson.


Michigan is technically full on scholarships for 2017-18, but there will inevitably be attrition between now and then. Four-star IN F Jaren Jackson is the other offer recipient so far in the 2017 class and should get a great deal of attention from the coaching staff.



October 23rd, 2015 at 6:43 PM ^

I got excited when I saw a Hello post. I was caught off guard by it being a basketball commit, but I'm no less excited. This kid sounds like he'll be a dead-ringer in a Beilein system. I can't wait for this year and next. Michigan on the up and up in the big 2 sports! Beilein uber alles!

Ivan Karamazov

October 23rd, 2015 at 6:52 PM ^

Quick on the trigger there Ace, nice write up as well. Given the fact he seemed 100% Michigan prior to the announcement, is there any worry of a flip if he happens to blow up between now and 2017 signing day?
I know Battle was a unique case but once burned twice shy when it comes to recruiting.

Flying Dutchman

October 23rd, 2015 at 11:35 PM ^

A highly skilled kid for that age/grade.

Oddly, he reminds me of a good-sized, skilled white boy.  Not overly quick or athletic looking, but shoots the lights out and his fundementals are nice.   I would love to see more explosiveness for a kid that size.   The highlights I saw showed nothing at all like attacking the hoop and flushing one. 

Either way, he is going to be a good college player.   Get on the plyometrics and jump boxes, if there still is such a thing.   The size and skills are great.   Go Blue. 


October 24th, 2015 at 12:12 AM ^

Sounds like a perfect fit and exactly the kind of recruit we should be targeting early and hopefully landing. I think the days of chasing multiple 5 stars is probably over.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


October 24th, 2015 at 7:11 AM ^

I am pretty sure that we are going to be treated to some splashdown dunks on defense due to his ability to anticipate as an off-ball defender. Beilein's 1-3-1 relies on that anticipation and has led to some great moments from Irvin, Burke, and especially GRIII.


October 24th, 2015 at 8:47 AM ^

Simpson, Poole, and MAAR get mention above, but no one should be sleeping on Watson.

There's great potential for Watson or Poole to end up the 3rd (combo) guard off the bench behind Simpson and the starting off guard, but Poole is the more natural fit.  Either way, that's a strong 3-guard rotation.

The guy who I have the most doubt about (even though he's the most proven given that he's already played college ball) is MAAR. When the issue of a red-shirt for MAAR was raised, Beilein said if he can be a defensive stopper, there's a place for him.  For a guy without an outside shot and terrible a/to ratio, that's his likely role going forward unless attrition strikes.

I'm hoping MAAR fits that defensive stopper role and also develops his decision-making because this team would be a lot better off if he could reliably play 10-15 minutes per game as a backup PG.


October 24th, 2015 at 9:50 AM ^

I think his 3-point shot is improving. He flashed it at times last year. Remember that MSU game where he played great? I think he had either two or three 3-pointers in that game. 

The A/TO thing is also a point I don't worry about too much. I don't think Michigan is every going to run out MAAR at the point for 35 minutes per game. I think he would be a change of pace slasher there, and possible used to match up with the opponents best player, if that guy is PG. 

In summary, I believe MAAR is a useful guy no matter how you cut it, and it would be a shame to doubt him, because he's not a pure PG or SG. 


October 25th, 2015 at 12:10 PM ^

He shot under 30% from 3 over the last 2 months of the year.  He could improve obviously but it's far from certain.  His excellent FT shooting is a nice sign though...

Of course MAAR isn't going to play 35 mpg on a regular basis, but Michigan needs a backup PG to be able to handle 5-10 minutes regularly.  That guy needs to be able to run the offense. They also have to fill in if injury or sickness strike.

MAAR's defense is the reason he (potentially) plays.  But to have a spot on offense (which Beilein emphasizes) he needs to either hit 3s or run the offense.  So far, save a few prominent and memorable outlier games, he hasn't done that with any consistency.

Michigan has now recruited 2 SGs in Poole and Watson to come in.  If MAAR doesn't develop his game he's going to end up at the end of the bench or transfering.

It would be great for Michigan if they did. If they could wait till the '18 class to grab another PG, if MAAR and Poole can bridge the gap for a year as backup PGs, then Michigan could focus on landing another wing or big and set themselves up better going into the future.


October 25th, 2015 at 3:14 PM ^

I'm hoping MAAR fits that defensive stopper role and also develops his decision-making because this team would be a lot better off if he could reliably play 10-15 minutes per game as a backup PG.

You didn't specify what year you were talking about and since Beilein was talking about this year (regarding MAAR and defensive stopper) I assumed that to be the case. I am well aware that Poole is a 17 recruit and Spike is a senior.


October 25th, 2015 at 11:52 PM ^

Why would I talk about the backup PG role this year in a post about Poole? Nobody thinks MAAR is playing PG this season (barring injury), so it's a weird stawman to invent. Beilein's comments aren't necessarily limited to this season. My comments, implicitly and contextually, have nothing to do with this season because again, this is a post about a guy who won't be here this year, or even next year.

My comments are a response to the Prediction Based on Flimsy Evidence, which mention MAAR but not Watson.  If MAAR is going to see the floor it's because of his defense, as Beilein notes.  He doesn't do anything else well enough to get PT over other options.  That could change by '17-18 though.


October 26th, 2015 at 8:25 AM ^

IIRC, Rahkman was Michigan's most efficient player in transition, and definitely best at attacking the paint. (Looks extremely impressive on some of these plays.)

So aside from his defensive upside, those aspects of his game might be getting a bit overlooked.

In particular, MAAR's ability to get to the rim and finish is something I'd suspect opposing teams would have to account for. Defenses may be inclined to play a little more compact when he's on the floor, opening up additional space on the perimeter. To some extent, that may offset a low FG% from Rahkman if it helps create better looks for our more proficient shooters.


October 26th, 2015 at 12:52 PM ^

You are right that MAAR was good at getting to the rim, but he needs to be able to pass and/or shoot for Beilein to hand him the ball.  Michigan doesn't run an iso offense and MAAR isn't Manny Harris, let alone Allen Iverson. When you have more turnovers than assists, it's hard to argue you are creating good looks for teammates.

Moreover, last year is behind us. Michigan has Caris and Derrick back, Simpson and Poole are top 100 recruits on the way, and other guys are going to get better too (namely Irvin and Dawkins). MAAR can improve too, but he has a long way to go to be given the ball instead of the other options on the roster going forward. Beilein's not going to hand the keys of the offense to a guy who can't shoot or distribute.

In other words, every possession you hand MAAR the ball and say "go to work" is a possession where higher efficiency/talent players don't get the ball. It's one thing if we're choosing between Robinson, Chatman, and MAAR, another if we're talking about All-american/NBA-caliber players Michigan will have in its guard rotation. 


October 26th, 2015 at 11:54 PM ^

Yeah, I agree that he's got a lot to improve on in order to be a more high-usage player, especially with Walton, LeVert and Albrecht healthy.

This was one quote that stood out to me, though, from the MLive article on MAAR (link at top of today's UV):

Offensively, Abdur-Rahkman said he hopes to improve his court vision — things like being able to identify a player rolling to the basket and an open teammate in the corner at the same time — while also increasing his comfort on the floor.

Hopefully MAAR's work in this regard does in fact lead to a significantly better A/TO margin. Given what he brings with his current skillset, just cutting back on the turnovers could be the biggest difference maker in how many minutes he gets on the reg.

And while Rahkman's probably not gonna be dishing out 5+ assists every night (at least not this year), it'd be tremendous if he shows a knack for really being able to kick the ball out nicely off his drives. Could very well get us a couple extra 3's per game off open looks in the corner for Dawkins, Irvin, etc.


October 24th, 2015 at 9:35 AM ^

Sounds like he is another great fit + semi-hidden gem that JB and his staff got and are eager to get their hands on.  (definitely not in the Rutgers Coach kind of way)

Julius 1977

October 24th, 2015 at 10:10 AM ^

Sister of the Egyptian god Isis.  Born much later and became an Internet God.  If you bold and add paragraphing you pay homage to this god.  If you use a spell checker you offend.

Low Key Recidivist

October 25th, 2015 at 10:25 AM ^

A better fit at SG for JB's offense.  Not a great athlete (though no slouch), but very smooth with solid fundamentals and very little wasted motion.  And he'll gain some explosiveness once he gets into the UM S&C program.

Poole, Watson and Simpson are a very solid future backcourt.


October 26th, 2015 at 8:42 AM ^

I DO feel the need for a cold shower.



I also feel relieved that no one has yet opined that Jordan is a better shooter than Glen Rice. Nik got saddled with that burden, & to open up that topic again: it simply wasn't true! I mean, there is absolutely no doubt that Nik (and Jordan) are great shooters, but - c'mon!