By Ellie Lieberman
In a recent interview with NBC Sports Bay Area, Warriors coach Steve Kerr praised Jordan Poole’s work ethic this offseason. He told the media, “He’s been the most consistent presence in this building.”
Many could hear such a comment and assume it’s just positivity coming from one of the best coaches in the NBA trying to motivate his players. However, Poole really did go the extra mile this offseason, and was a staple getting up shots in the UPB gym. He’s the first one to admit that improving his shooting stroke will take relentless work, and lots of time.
Though Poole was quite efficient last season with 8.8 points and 2.1 rebounds on average, per 22 minutes of play, sky’s the limit for him. He completed 33% of his three-pointers in his rookie season, but with patience and drive, those numbers will only climb to his nearly 40% stat line while at Michigan.
Another key component of Poole’s offseason was learning as much as possible from Warriors veterans, Draymond Green, Play Thompson, and Steph Curry, a core that was riddled by injuries last season. Poole’s process from learning from them is two-fold, both in-person at mini-camp and also on film. He said it was great to be back with teammates in the facility, having everyday conversation, and building camaraderie, especially with guys Poole is just getting to know. In addition, Poole dived head-first into the task of watching film, especially if the trio because he knew how much he could gain from their already-established careers.
"He’s actually been studying film of Steph and Klay not because he wants to be Steph or Klay but because he sees some things that they do, and he wants to try to mimic the things that he can,” Warriors owner Joe Lacob said in an interview with Forbes.
In addition to his steadfast desire for growth, Poole made the most of his time away from the game by rejuvenating and connecting with family and friends either socially distanced, or over social media.
“I don’t think we’re given times like this for an extended period of time throughout our everyday life so we needed to take advantage of it,” Poole said.
Behind the creation of UPBYCF lies years of activism for both Turners and a sustained interest in bettering communities in The Bay Area. They know the statistics that six times as many low-income students drop youth sports when compared to those from high-income families because of access (Aspen Institute Project Play Initiative). They also know firsthand the power sports has to build character because “a survey of 400 female corporate executives found 94% played a sport and that 61% say sports contributed to their career success (EY Women Athletes Business Network/espnW, 2014). The launch of UPBYCF is bounded in these statistics and in past experiences both Turners have had with nonprofits such as The Boys and Girls Club, Big Homie Project, and Play MakeHers. Yearly clinics at UPB have focused on women’s empowerment, and tackled issues like access to sports, and hunger.