Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dwight Powell, Grassroots Shining

Springfield, Mass.--One player who stood out amongst the buffet-line of top high school prospects at Basketbull's "Fist Eight" was Dwight Powell, a silky-smooth, 6-foot-9 forward with tremendous upside.

Powell's success on the hardwood has been parallel to his success in the classroom.

He boasts a 4.0 GPA, inducing drool from some Ivy League coaches.

Realistically, the Canadian prodigy should launch into a higher stratosphere, such as the Big East, ACC, or Pac-10.

Powell's blend of brilliance and versatile basketball package (the rangy forward is handling the rock and burying treys) is drawing attention from first-rate schools such as Stanford, California, Harvard, Georgia Tech, and a slew of others.

The Toronto native says he's currently considering California or HARVARD--both of which are eyeing him heavily-- as potential hardwood homes.

That's right, Harvard.

So, the Crimson Tide basketball program may potentially garner some national visibility for more than just an upset of Boston College.

A cool customer, Powell isn't sweating a decision that may soon be cooking on his front stove.

He's more focused on the summer success of his Grassroots Canada AAU team.

'Roots has established itself as the herb that yields the basketball seed in the hockey hotbed of Toronto.

Their elite, torrent of talent has vaulted them into the upper percentile of AAU teams.

Grassroots has groomed the likes of Paul Harris (Syracuse), Jonny Flynn (Syracuse), Denham Brown (UConn) as well as one-time NBA all-star Jamaal Magloire.

It appears Toronto is going hard (just ask Drake!).

A shipment of promising young ballers from the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario are grinding to make an impact on the next level. This summer may help spur their springboard.

A select few are already sifting through a stack of scholarship offers.

Grassroots boasts another skilled, super-sized big in JP Kambola.

Kambola is being actively pursued by a number of Division-I schools--UConn, Seton Hall, Marquette, Rutgers, DePaul, and Virginia--to name a few.

Kambola turned in a triple-double Saturday with a balanced 12-point, 12-board, 12-block masterpiece before a surplus of college coaches.

The ultra-long 6-foot-9, 230-pound Kambola sealed the basket shut by blocking nine shots in the first half during Saturday's National Invitational tournament, a display also done by the folks at Basketbull. JPK punched jokers' shot attempts at will, manipulating and altering the trajectory of countless others.

And we won't fail to mention budding superstar Tristan Thompson, a 6-foot-8 Texas-bound forward who's suddenly ballooned to a chiseled 235 pounds.

Powell was the main attraction this past weekend.

He speaks softly but carries a big stick on the court, ripping down boards and taking the soul of opposing big men.

Though his post presence is his major selling stone, Powell embraces the idea of being a jack of all trades.

“Personally, I like to consider myself someone who does it all,” said Powell, who plays at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla.

“Right now, I’m working on fixing up my jump shot, mechanics-wise. I’m also trying to develop better handle. My goals are to increase in those areas of my game and I'm sticking to them.”

Lofty aspirations for a towering interior presence.

Then again, would you expect anything less from Powell?

He's the kid who uses his high basketball IQ to create for his teammates, his athleticism and good feel for the game to block shots and finish with authority.

A brain surgeon he may be, Powell's also got the “touch of a surgeon,” to paraphrase legendary New York City prep scout Tom Konchalski.

Powell's monster work ethic, high-order commitment to personal progression and winning places him in a different category.

“At school, we play a tough schedule but we work a lot on just getting better,” said Powell.

As far as attitude, immeasurable intangibles, versatility, and coachability, you'll be hard pressed to find anyone better than Powell.