On Saturday, Mar. 31, Michigan guard Jordan Poole played 12 minutes during Michigan’s Final Four showdown against Loyola Chicago. He didn’t start. He wasn’t the leading scorer. Yet on social media, Poole was still the star of the show.
“Jordan Poole is crazy,” WXYZ sports anchor Brad Galli tweeted following the Michigan win, alongside a video of Poole hopping a few feet into the air to hi-five fans on his way out of the Alamodome.
Two minutes later, another video of Poole surfaced on Twitter via @chase_shannon, this time showing the six-foot freshman crouching down to congratulate Loyola’s famed Sister Jean on a great season.
Replies from news outlets came pouring in: “Hi Chase, great video,” said NBC Sports. “May we have permission to post it on our social media channels with full credit to you?”
“Dude knows where the camera is at all times [face with tears of joy emoji],” replied user @garcia_eliass.
After a photo-finish three that took Michigan to the Elite Eight, Poole has become known just as well for his hijinks off the court. He may be a goofy, brace-faced freshman, but he possesses a rare form of charisma, the type that can’t be taught. He’s at once innocent and conniving, equal parts relatable and mind-blowingly talented.
One look at Poole’s Instagram account can explain his appeal. Amid the expected athlete-on-duty photos are candid looks into the 18-year-old’s personality: A post captioned “I just want a haircut [ice cream emoji]” shows Poole in the backseat of a car, singing and dancing to Ski Mask The Slump God’s “Catch Me Outside,” fully aware that he’s being filmed. Scroll back to Sept. and you’ll stumble upon a few pictures of him cuddling with cats (presumably his, though we’ll have to fact-check). Poole looks especially young in those photos, his maize jacket closed to the top the way a mom would zip her kindergartener’s on the first day of school. Back in Aug., he posted a series of videos of himself singing emphatically along to “How Far I’ll Go” from Disney’s “Moana.”
On Mar. 4, @JDue51 tweeted a video of Poole expertly photobombing a post-game interview. For those of us who don’t avidly follow basketball, that’s where it all began. Less than one full season in, Poole had solidified himself as both a point guard prodigy and the University’s freshest, fun-loving heartthrob.
Of course, none of this would work if he had to try. The beauty of the Jordan Poole effect lies in its ease. In offering a new set of relatable antics every game, Poole has made it clear that this is just the person he is.
Lucky for us, he also shoots a damn good three.