Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Poole Commits to Muhlenberg

No other local girls basketball player has flown under the radar as much as Michelle Poole. Although Poole (Wolfeboro, NH) hasn't received very much hype or fanfare over the years the fact is that she is one of the state's top recruits for the Class of 2013. She has flown under the radar because she's from a small town which is basically in the middle of nowhere, she didn't start playing basketball until just 3 years ago and she has gone to prep school all 4 years rather than an NHIAA school.

During that time there are very few players who have worked harder than Poole though, and now her goal of playing college basketball is one giant step closer to being a reality. The 5-foot-10 forward (currently a senior at Brewster Academy) has recently committed to attend and play basketball at Muhlenberg College.

"I knew I wanted to go to a small, liberal arts school with a solid basketball program and strong academics" Poole told the NH Notebook. "Other schools I was considering were Brandeis, Roger Williams, Union, and Franklin and Marshall. It was a tough choice, but Muhlenberg stood out as somewhere I can see myself going for the next four years. The coaching staff and the girls on the team are amazing, the school is beautiful, and academics are a huge emphasis - I really don't know what else to ask for!"

Muhlenberg is located in Allentown, PA (fans of Billy Joel will appreciate that). It is a perennial contender in the Centennial Conference, which the Mules won last season. They made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and were the #22 ranked Division III team in the country at the end of this season.

"Muhlenberg is a powerhouse, their record accurately portrays how hard they work and the passion that the entire team has" said Poole. "Muhlenberg has played in 6 NCAA tournaments and has won 5 Centennial Conference championships in the past 7 seasons. During the recruiting process I was looking for a team that works hard and gets results, and that's exactly what Muhlenberg does! Coach Rohn is an amazing coach and has done wonderful things over the years and I cannot wait to play for him and hopefully continue on the winning legacy."

Muhlenberg is outside of New England and doesn't have any kids from NH on the current roster. Still, Poole isn't afraid of getting homesick.

"When I was looking at schools to go to, I was looking from New York to Florida to California" explained Poole. "I don't have a problem being away from home or traveling by myself because of all the AAU tournaments I've been through. I was hardly home for more than a week this past summer because I was always on the road with my teammates. I am glad that PA isn't more than a car ride away because I will be able to come home for a long weekend in a 8 hour drive or my family can come down for a weekend and catch a game."

The team that Poole was playing in those AAU tournaments for was the Rivals Basketball Club, a team that was loaded with talent.

"I am so grateful to be apart of the Rivals program" said Poole. "Scott Hazelton has been an amazing coach and helped me develop as a player and as a person. The Rivals program revolves around hard work. Every practice you are playing against girls at all different skill levels and everyone works so hard everyday. This summer we were on the road all the time; playing at USJN in DC and Run for the Roses in KY against amazing players from across the country. When it comes to getting noticed, the Rivals program just goes out and plays hard. I think that the Rivals have truly made a name for ourselves because we are a bunch of suburban girls from New Hampshire that go to these huge tournaments and play against extremely talented players and hold our own and come back winning.

It was during those summer tournaments with the Rivals when Poole got noticed by coaches from Muhlenberg as well as other schools.

"Muhlenberg started recruiting me after the US Junior Nationals in Washington DC in late July.I can't say that I did anything particularly outstanding to catch their eye because I'm a pretty consistent player so any game they came to I'd say would portray my skills and athletic ability accurately. Also, I was lucky enough to play with some amazing girls that brought out the best in me all summer, so we worked off each other and made everyone look good."

Some of Poole's teammates included local products Meghan Green (committed to Boston University), Katharine Fogarty (committed to Marist) and Alex Cohen (committed to Manhattan). The team was coached by former McDonald's All-American and current Bishop Guertin girls head coach Scott Hazelton.

"Michelle has greatly improved over the past two years" said Hazelton. "When she first came to play for me she was really raw, but had the will and desire to become a better player. Michelle was the ultimate blue collar player who was always willing to sacrifice her body to help the team win. She was one of our top defenders, she loved to rebound and take chargers. She did all the little things during the game to help the team win. She's certainly one of the toughest girls I've coached! Over the past year Michelle has put in a lot work on improving her offensive game. She came back this AAU season with a couple go-to moves on the block, and also added a 15 foot jump shot. Michelle has only been playing basketball for a few years, so she will be a girl who gets much better in college. At that level she is an immediate impact player, and is going to have a great career. I couldn't be happier for her!"

Poole is a great story. A kid who has come out of nowhere to become a truly elite ball player. She deserves a lot of credit for all of the hard work she has put in.

"A lot of the girls I play with and against started playing basketball at a very young age, I just started playing at a competitive level about 3 years ago" explained Poole. "Compared to a lot of the people I play against, I knew my skills were not as developed. But where I thought I lacked in skills I made up in hard work. As I grew into being a stronger player, both my father and Scott coached me to keep up my hard work ethic and just to out play everyone else on the court. I work hard and basketball is my passion so I do hustle and do whatever I can to help out the team. A lot of that time is being the one who sprints down the court to take the offensive charge. It may not be the most impressive stat in the book, but it sure gets our team really excited! I really don't know how to play any other way but to play to win."

In this day and age it seems like all of the top hoops prospects are going to prep schools. Poole is no different, although the path she took to Brewster is.

"I chose to go to Brewster Academy after moving to Wolfeboro from Marble Falls, Texas in 6th grade" Poole added. "I went to the public middle school (Kingswood Regional Middle School) until 8th grade. My older brother went to Brewster and I saw how happy he was there so of course I wanted to give it a try too. I've been going to Brewster since my freshman year and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Brewster has helped me grow inside and outside the classroom. It has given me opportunities to give back to the community, make friendships that will last a lifetime, and prepared me to go onto college successfully. I'm so grateful to be attending Brewster and playing for an amazing coach in Laurel Brown. Both the teachers and coaches I have had at my time here have helped me develop a determined and hard working attitude."

So now Poole has just one year left at Brewster before leaving New England to head off to Muhlenberg. The decisions of whether to attend prep school, and where to go to college is always very important ones to make. That is why it is refreshing to hear that academics were just as big of a factor for Poole as basketball was.

"I'm not exactly sure what I want to study but I am leaning toward Pre-Law" Poole concluded. "Muhlenberg is one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation, and the team especially maintains a very high GPA throughout the year. I wanted to go to a school that would challenge me on the court and in the classroom, and I believe Muhlenberg is a perfect fit!"

Congratulations to Michelle, and best of luck to her at Muhlenberg!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations—Muhlenberg is a terrific school. Most people in northern New England are not familiar with what a great school Muhlenberg is. If you ever meet Muhlenberg alum they are always passionate and cannot say enough nice things about their experience. Muhlenberg has top level academics with small classes, accessible professors, and involved College President. The Women’s Basketball program is a perennial top contender and a powerhouse program in DIII. The campus is compact and really nice. The food is good too!! Our son played football and lacrosse at Exeter High School. He is a junior at Muhlenberg and plays on the lacrosse team. He is so happy with his experience, academics, friendships, and the opportunities available to him at Muhlenberg. You made a terrific choice. Congratulations, Good Luck, Great Choice, Continued Success. GO Mules!!! -Muhlenberg Parents