Blake Poole (195-C-88, college: St.Martin's) was well on his way to another double-double season, when the rebounding machine suddenly had to cease its activity. Only three minutes into the derby against BSV Wulfen in early December the 24-year-old was struck by bad lack again, after suffering a broken foot during the summer, which kept him from turning out for the Topstar Kangaroos Leitershofen/Stadtbergen, the Pro B team he initially had signed with for the 2012-13 campaign. In late October he returned to BG Dorsten and registered an impressive double-double (18 points, 22 boards) in his comeback game. However, that joy didn't last long. Only in his seventh encounter Poole's season ended in frustration. To make matters worse, it was another foot injury which forced him to stop the action. "I just think it was an unfortunate setback", he says, "I was ready to come back, but landing wrong on the same foot just caused another injury. It doesn't cause much pain, but my X-rays clearly showed a slight fracture in my 5th metatarsal." Do the back-to-back foot injuries put his basketball career in danger? "No, I wouldn't say my career is in jeopardy, just another setback", the Eugene, Oregon, native told Eurobasket.com. "I'm sure my foot will heal and I will be able to return to the game." For the time being, however, rehabilitation will have to be done as he is aiming to do some damage in the IBL once he is cleared to return to game action. "I'm just going to rest it for a little bit and see family while staying in the gym so I can go in my summer IBL season healthy."
Dorsten coach Torsten Schierenbeck had no other choice but to move forward without his inside dominator and to reshuffle his formation. He signed Justin Eller (203-C-87, college: Sacramento St.) hoping to have found a suitable replacement as his team is getting to the business end of regular season in which it will be determined whether BG is capable of clinching a second straight playoff berth. "I think they will do well, they have great players still there and Torsten will continue to provide good coaching as well. That along with the Dorsten community, they should continue to have success", he says.
Poole has produced impressive numbers at every level he has played at throughout his career. In fact, ever since his sophomore year at St. Martin's he has tallied double-digit averages in points and rebounds without exception. The 2011 NCAA D2 All-American helped the Bellingham Slam win the 2012 IBL championship, averaging 18.7 points, 13.2 rebounds per outing en route to USBasket.com IBL Center of the Year honors. In his first season in Germany he scored 14.9 points and pulled down a league-high 12.9 boards a game, which would land him a spot on the 2011-12 Eurobasket.com All-2. Bundesliga Pro B Second Team. Standing 6'5'' tall Poole is certainly not the longest post player you will find - that's something he had to deal with at every stage of his career. "Too many to count", he replies to the question of how many times he has been told being not tall enough to play in the post. "It has always been nice to see the reactions when someone sees me play because I always surprise them." As a rebounder, Poole is as good as is gets, using his strong body to hold off taller opponents and his knack of anticipating and getting to the right position to corral the ball off the rim. He might not be the tallest center around and he might not jump over people, but he gets the job done.
"A good rebounder gets every rebound in his area, a great rebounder gets those rebounds and the rebounds out of his area that someone else should have had. That's what Blake does", Keith Cooper, St. Martin's Men's basketball head coach, said in an article posted in local newspaper The Olympian in 2011. "I like the feeling of getting the ball for my team. An offensive rebound allows my team to take more time off of the clock and get another chance at scoring and a defensive rebound means we got another stop as a team. Points will come playing within the team system, but rebounds take an extra effort to put yourself in the right spot", Poole added, who's mother was among the influences who helped him to become a workhorse in the paint. "Growing up she has always kept my stats, so with rebounds she would always encourage me to get 10 rebounds a game. After awhile, that became a habit", he says.
"He's just a very intelligent basketball player. He has a tremendous low-post-game", Rob Ridnour, Bellingham Slam coach and father of NBA guard Luke Ridnour (188-PG-81, college: Oregon), told The Olympian in another feature. In his 2012 IBL championship season with the Slam, Poole also dished out 4.1 assists a game besides the inevitable double-double. As a senior at St. Martin's he averaged 2.8 assists and accomplished the same tally in his first year with BG Dorsten. "I think my passing is looked over sometimes. I love setting up my teammates and I think I do a good job of distributing the ball", Poole says.
As he continues recuperating to be ready to play by the time the IBL season gets underway in spring, it will be exciting to follow, where Poole will go to work in the next European season.
Pro B team Artland Dragosn continue to build an extremely strong team as they have hauled in Kenneth Cooper (208-C-87, college: UAB) Cooper is a 28 year old 205cm center from Monroe, Louisiana that will be playing his seventh professional season. He not only brings expereince having played in Germany, but also from countries like Portugal, Canada, Finland, Venezuela, Canada, Estonia and Kosovo. Last season he played for RSV Eintracht Stahnsdorf (Germany-Pro B) playing 26 games and averagi... [read more]
Pro B team Artland Dragosn continue to build an extremely strong team as they have hauled in Kenneth Cooper (208-C-87, college: UAB) Cooper is a 28 year old 205cm center from Monroe, Louisiana that will be playing his seventh professional season. He not only brings expereince having played in Germany, but also from countries like Portugal, Canada, Finland, Venezuela, Canada, Estonia and Kosovo. Last season he played for RSV Eintracht Stahnsdorf (Germany-Pro B) playing 26 games and averaging 14.2ppg, Reb-4 (9.8rpg), FGP: 55.7%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 56.6%. "Last season we were missing a strong center that not only could withstand other big men, but also fight against them. Last season he impressed us leading up to our first game against Stahnsdorf.He dominated his opponents in the low post. After