When he entered Kentucky's game against Pike-ville College on Monday, he heard the public address announcer identify the new player as "Stacey Poole." What happened to the prospect known as Stacey Poole Jr., who signed with UK?
"I don't know," Poole said Thursday. "I still like to be called 'Junior.' I am a Junior. That's what I am."
His father, Stacey Poole Sr., was a standout player for Florida 20 years ago.
UK spokesman DeWayne Peevy said that the team simply follows what name each player puts on a form when they come to college. "His said Stacey Poole," Peevy said.
During the exhibition against Pikeville, Poole did not enter the game until the second half. "I wasn't mad," he said.
UK Coach John Calipari had told him before tip-off that Jon Hood would play the first half and Poole the second, Poole said.
To earn more playing time, Poole said he'll have to adopt a blue-collar approach.
"He gets on me every practice, 'Stacey, you have to go in there and rebound for us,'" Poole said. "I just have to be that guy giving energy. If I do those things right there, I'll play. No doubt."
Those things sound a lot like DeAndre Liggins on training wheels. Scoring is not a top priority. That's a change from high school, where Poole averaged 16 points as a senior and scored double-digit points in 19 of the final 23 games.
But it's a role he accepts.
"Your natural instinct is to score," he said before adding, "If you do the little things, you'll score."
'Bigs' get chance
Calipari tried a small lineup against Pikeville. Eloy Vargas said he expects the bigger men to get a longer look against Dillard.
"He liked the lineup when the big guys were in there because we played more aggressive and got more rebounds and helped more with passing," Vargas said.
With toughness the theme of the week, Vargas said he hoped to provide a presence around the basket.
"Well, I have to improve myself by getting tougher," he said. "I need to rebound the ball better and work more on boxing out. ...
"As a team, we need more communication on the court so we can work together more as a team."
Calipari expressed dissatisfaction with the small lineup "because there wasn't any fight," he said.
Even without Enes Kanter, whose eligibility remains in limbo, Dillard might be a team Kentucky can overpower.
Dillard Coach Dale Brown, the former UK guard, used a Kentucky reference to describe his 6-foot-8 center. "He's like Andre Riddick was," Brown said. "A string bean."
His next-tallest players are 6-6 and shorter, Brown said. "Those are UK guards."
■ UK has a 44-4 record in pre-season exhibitions. The Cats have won 30 of the last 31 exhibitions, including 15 straight.
■ Former UK players who coached against Kentucky have a 10-49 record in such games. C.M. Newton (10-32) has all the victories.