Photo courtesy of Wendell Cruz/Finish First Photos
By David Cordova
When one thinks of basketball in the Garden State, they think mainly of northern New Jersey. But in the southern part of the state, there is also some great talent.
One proof of that is a shooter by the name of Myles Powell. The 6-foot-2 shooting guard from Seton Hall is a player that is lights-out from behind the three-point range, but is a player that can also take it to the basket.
Powell is a native of Trenton, New Jersey, a city in Mercer County, which is about 44 minutes away from Philadelphia and more than an hour away from New York City.
When asked about being from Trenton, Powell replied, “It’s rough. It’s a lot going on there. You gotta stay….it’s either two roads you can pick, it’s either the down road or you can pick the right road. And I mean, there’s a lot of kids that pick the wrong path, but there’s a lot of kids that pick the right one, and me being me, I think that you should pick the right one.”
Also, when asked about basketball in the state of New Jersey, which has been one of the best in the nation for some years now, he replied, “It’s great. Jersey basketball is great. We left it off in the hands of JQ [Jahvon Quinerly], he’s doing good, he just committed to Villanova, shoutout to him, Gatorade Player of the Year, twice. I mean, Jersey basketball, I feel like it’s the best out here. When you go to other places, they seem soft and stuff, but Jersey and New York guards, I feel like everybody gets after it. That’s all we know, running guards, we get after it.”
In his high school days, Powell started out at Medford Tech High School, where he averaged 8.8 points as a freshman and 21.8 as a sophomore. The he transferred to Trenton Catholic Academy, where he averaged 18.5 points as a junior and 17.1 points as a senior. Then, for his senior year, he decided to attend South Kent School in Kent, Connecticut for a post-graduate year, where he averaged 25 points and three rebounds per game.
In regards to his high school days, he replied, “Trenton Catholic was great. My three years there with Malachi Richardson [in his second year in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors] was probably one of the best years of my life. My older brother went there, Fred Fouch, he’s been watching me play since I was little, then I got a chance to go out and play at South Kent, with a lot of good kids, Tremont Waters, he’s at LSU, Elijah Huges and Matt Moyer, they’re both at Syracuse, Andrew Gordon, he just committed to West Virginia. I mean, it was a good experience, it was something new, it was different. So yeah, I learned a lot in those experiences and it helped become the man I am.”
There was also a program that helped him along the way. The name of that program was the New Jersey Playaz, a program that was founded in the 1990’s by Jimmy Salmon, which has produced a lot of marquee NBA names such as J.R. Smith, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, Tim Thomas and many more.
Back in 2014, Powell was a member of the Playaz team that won the Nike EYBL Peach Jam tournament in North Augusta, South Carolina, which featured several Division I players such as Isaiah Briscoe, who played at Kentucky for two seasons and is now playing professionally in Estonia, and also Eli Cain (DePaul), Shakur Juiston (UNLV), Temple Gibbs (Notre Dame) and Trevon Duval (Duke).
When asked about his experience with the Playaz, Powell replied, “Man, I can’t. If it wasn’t for the Playaz basketball, I don’t think I would’ve blown up as big as I did. You know, the Playaz Fam, when you say the Playaz Fam, everybody knows what that is, it rings a bell instantly. Jim Salmon, he’s like a father figure, I mean like, he’s there for you no matter what, if you’re still playing for his program or if you’re not. But if you said, Playaz Fam, he’s going to be there and we’re a family, so I mean, it’s not just about basketball with them, it’s about life.”
In September 2015, Powell chose to stay closer to home by deciding to play at Seton Hall, which is located in South Orange, which is an hour and 23 minutes away from his hometown. “It was close to home, family could come to support me, the coaching staff, the four seniors [Angel Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, Ismael Sanogo and Desi Rodriguez].”
In his two years, Powell has been one of the Pirates’ most consistent players on the floor. As a freshman, he averaged 10.7 points per game and then this past season, he stepped his game up tremendously, as he doubled his performance to 15.5 points per game. In his time at Seton Hall, the Pirates have gone 43-24 with two straight NCAA Tournament appearances. For his efforts this season, Powell won the Big East Conference Most Improved Player of the Year Award.
Part of his development came from the weight loss that he went through once he got to Seton Hall. During his time at South Kent, he weighed as much as 250 pounds. Due to the training regimen he underwent, he lost 60 pounds and is now down to 190 pounds. He replaced fast food and soda with grilled chicken, water and vegetables.
When asked about him making a change, he replied, “I lost a lot of weight. I came in at 250 pounds, I’m 190 now, so I mean, the trainers, from the training staff to coaching staff, they was all there for me, supporting me, to the four seniors. This year, I won Most Improved, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the coaching staff and my teammates. So having them in my corner was a big plus for me.”
Many may wonder about Powell’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to his game. “I feel like my strength is I can shoot the ball well, I’m a great team player, I can get other people involved and my weakness is I feel like I can work on my defense.”
With two full seasons under his belt, look for Powell to have an even bigger year next season as a junior for the Hall, as he will be expected to be a leader to a group of young players next season.
This year, the Pirates made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, a place that they hadn’t been since 2004. But Powell feels that they can make it further than that. “To win a national championship, that’s always the goal.” He said.
As for the kid they call, Cheese? “To be continued.”
Highlights of Myles Powell:
Courtesy of Frankie Vision.
Courtesy of FOX Sports 1.
Courtesy of NJ Hoop Recruit.
Courtesy of NJ Sports Scene.
Courtesy of Courtside Films.
Courtesy of RI Affiliated.
Courtesy of NJ Sports Scene.
Courtesy of 8Eye Media.