Kent State Friday posted a Facebook Live interview with coach Todd Starkey and one of the most intriguing players on the team, freshman Ali Poole.
Poole is a 5-11 guard from Carrollton High School and the only true freshman on the team. She looks to be the first long-range shooter the Flashes have had in four years to complement senior guard Larissa Lurken. Poole averaged about 18.5 points a game her senior year and scored more than 1,400 in her four years. She was twice player of the year in the Northeast Buckeye Conference and second-team all state last season.
Besides being a good shooter, Poole is a good athlete. She also lettered in volleyball and softball in high school. She’s practiced at all three perimeter positions at Kent State — including some time at point guard.
“She came in with strong basketball IQ,” Starkey said. “She understands the game and has picked up on defensive concept. She has a voice. She’s a natural at doing something that’s really important to us, and that’s really talking on the court and communicating.
“She’s very coachable -—not just attitude and listening but being able to apply what you’re being coached.”
Poole said she was adjusting to the college game.
“It’s faster, the intensity is really there, and it’s different to play with all really good players,” she said. “In high school everyone is pretty good, but it’s high school basketball.”
Poole said the new coach and his new system has allowed her to fit in.
“Most freshman come in and say, ‘Oh, I’ve got the learn everything that everyone else already knows,” she said. “(The new system) puts me more on an even playing ground, which helps my confidence a bit.”
The interview came shortly after what Starkey called “one of our better practices, especially in the last two weeks.”
“I thought we really did some things on the defense end, trying to hammer home the mentality of getting stops and really starting to figure out how important that is,” he said.
Both Carducci and Starkey talked of a “spirited scrimmage” at the end of practice.
The team has a closed scrimmage against Cleveland State this weekend. Starkey said he would be looking for “attitude and effort and focus — and what our defensive intensity looks like.”
Here’s a https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FGoldenFlashes%2Fvideos%2F10154259023183922%2F&show_text=0&width=400” target=”_blank”>link to the Starkey-Poole interview by Kent State’s Dave Carducci.
The Mid-American Conference this fall didn’t have its traditional media day, in which all coaches, a couple of key players and the media get together for a day in Cleveland. Instead they’ve been posted short video interviews about each team — “12 teams in 12 days” is the slogan.
Kent State’s was posted Friday. It broke little new ground. Starkey talked about the “opportunity to change our identify.”
Junior forward Jordan Korinek said the team chemistry was very good because every player from last season returned.
Senior guard Larissa Lurken, who has started on teams that went 18-71 over three years, said the key to the season was the team believing in itself.
“I think we’re a lot better than sometimes we think we are,” she said. “We have to believe that, believe in the coaching staff and believe in the system we run. If we push ourselves, we can actually get there.”
Starkey said the team’s goal was to get better every game and by the end of the season “be the team nobody wants to play in the MAC tournament.”
Here’s the MAC video on Kent State.
If you want to see a lot of MAC women’s previews, go here. You’ll see green squares at the bottom that you can click through to hear from coaches of all MAC teams. As of Friday, the league had posted eight, including Kent State. They’re all just three or four minutes long.