Passing has not been Poole’s emphasis, but if you look at assists/40 in conference play, MAAR-3, Matthews-3, Poole-2. (It’s actually been closer to 3 for Poole if you look at only the conference games since the end of the non-con). Or assist% - Poole-11%, MAAR-15%, Matthews-15%.
So it’s not like he’s got that far to go to just match what MAAR and Matthews are doing, despite the fact that Poole is not option A in terms of creating offense from ball screens, etc. (Of course, you could say it’s a 50% increase…). For comparison, Stauskas’s assist rate his freshman year was 8%. MAAR’s assist rate his sophomore and junior year was 11 or 12%.
But it’s also somewhat an eye-test thing. He looks much more confident passing the ball than MAAR ever has. I can’t really imagine MAAR making that pass late in the game to Wagner, for instance. Poole had one drive and kick where his pass to Robinson was a little off and I was surprised it wasn’t on the money. The aggression might lead to a few more TOs, but I think it’ll lead to a lot more easy buckets.
I thought JB said some interesting things about Poole in the presser – that they’re going to celebrate his assists, and that Poole understands that he’s not going to play unless he plays defense and takes care of the ball. Clearly, JB is working on reining in Poole’s shoot-from-the-hip tendencies and rewarding him for things other than putting the ball in the basket. But the skills seem to clearly be there, along with the decisiveness.