NEW YORK — The way Mike Poole figures it, if UConn can win a national championship with a large group of freshmen, why can’t Rutgers?
Well, for one thing, UConn had Kemba Walker and the Scarlet Knights have no one remotely resembling the first-round NBA Draft pick.
But that doesn’t stop the 6-foot-5 Poole from dreaming big and guaranteeing a postseason bid for Rutgers during the 2011-12 season.
Rutgers hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 1991, and last went to the NIT under Gary Waters in 2006. (They were NIT runners-up in 2004.)
“I guarantee Rutgers will be in the postseason,” Poole, a sophomore wing, said Tuesday night after scoring 21 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in Queensbridge’s 122-93 loss to X-Men in the Nike Pro City league at Baruch College.
With the addition of a heralded recruiting class, led by former St. Anthony point guard Myles Mack, Poole believes the Knights can make a postseason run a year after the team finished 15-17 during Mike Rice’s first year at the helm.
“UConn won the title with seven freshmen,” said Poole. “We have seven freshmen. I don’t see why we can’t do the same thing.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.