Dec. 10, 2012
By Matt Winkeljohn
The clock has been ticking over Stacey Poole Jr.’s head for quite a while now, sometimes faintly, but more recently loud as a bomb every second.
It’s imaginary. The only timing device that has mattered over the past year is a calendar in the NCAA headquarters, far away, in Indianapolis.
For the Georgia Tech sophomore, however, it sure has seemed like a tick-tock-tick-tock deal as he has sat on the sideline for one year – per NCAA mandate – since transferring last December from Kentucky.
Midnight is about to arrive. The 6-foot-4 wingman from Jacksonville will be eligible to play for the Yellow Jackets on Dec. 22, when The Citadel visits McCamish Pavilion.
Lately, the clock has seemed to thunder. The seconds slower to go by yet even as the future feels like it’s racing toward him. It’s been a weird mix of dreams and reality.
“You’re right,” the super sweaty young man said Monday after a cardio workout at the Zelnak practice facility. “I’ve just been getting ready, since summer time . . . that time is coming. It’s just overwhelming. I’m past the excitement. I’m ready to get out there and play.”
Poole has been getting ready with his teammates.
He’s been allowed to practice, and when the time comes – he’s hopeful that semester grades will post in time for him to play Monday against Alabama State, but the latest word suggests that grades will not post officially until Tuesday – head coach Brian Gregory will have another wing man.
Not that kind of wing man; the kind who’ll play shooting guard and/or small forward. A gazelle.
Poole will join Marcus Georges-Hunt, Brandon Reed, Jason Morris and Chris Bolden as the Yellow Jackets’ primary space players. He’s rumored to be somewhat hyperkinetic, this newcomer, and if channeled wisely that surely cannot hurt Tech (6-2).
“Just bringing energy, defensive stops, and finishing plays,” Poole said. “We have a good team. Coach wants me to bring that toughness and competitiveness to the table.”
The season opener was tough. All that energy in McCamish for the first game in the new building, and there’s a guy who’s on the team, but not allowed to be in the game. Then again, he’s been on the outside looking in before. The Kentucky teammates he left behind won the national championship last April.
“It was kind of difficult [during the Nov. 9 opener against Tulane in McCamish],” he said. “I just had to be a good teammate, cheer my teammates on. I get that question from a lot of people: ‘Man, when are you going to be able to play?’ I just put my time in, get my cardio and conditioning work.”
Soon, his time will arrive.
“I’ve been more involved at practice even than I was at Kentucky, being involved in the plays, trying to bring energy,” Poole said. “I’m just a winner. I love to win, and I can’t wait to get out there and help my teammates compete.”
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