Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Myles Powell to return to Seton Hall for senior season

Myles Powell ended speculation Wednesday, announcing his return to Seton Hall for senior season. (Photo by Bob Dea/Daly Dose Of Hoops)

On the same day where Seton Hall officially learned it could potentially host the No. 1 team in the nation this November, its top returning player announced he would not only be suiting up for that game, but also to add one final, season-long chapter to his budding legacy.

Myles Powell, the Pirates’ charismatic shooting guard who tested the NBA Draft waters this offseason, ended the growing speculation that had been building in the hours leading up to Wednesday’s deadline for all underclassmen to declare whether or not they were remaining in the draft, tweeting a picture of himself seated on the baseline with the caption “Guess who’s back” Wednesday evening, thereby affirming his intent to finish what he started in South Orange as Seton Hall readies itself for what should be an unprecedented fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Powell’s return assures the Pirates — whose non-conference schedule is headlined by a Gavitt Tipoff Games home game against likely top-ranked Michigan State on November 14 at Prudential Center — a nationally-televised showcase for the surefire Big East Conference Player of the Year candidate.

“So blessed & thankful to be where I’m at in life on & off the court!!!!” Powell tweeted. “Going back to finish what I started & most importantly be the first one in my family to have a college degree. LET’S GO WIN A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP,” he continued, tagging Seton Hall’s men’s basketball Twitter account in the process.

The winner of the Haggerty Award last month — the third Pirate in the last four seasons to be recognized as the best player in the metropolitan area — Powell had a transcendent close to his junior campaign, averaging 23.1 points per game as Seton Hall rose from an eighth-place preseason projection in the Big East to an improbable No. 7 seed in an NCAA Tournament few thought was on the horizon when the season began. After being invited to the NBA G League combine, Powell’s professional prospects began to blossom, and after a long talk with head coach Kevin Willard, whom Powell considers a father figure, a decision was made with a similar result to that of Angel Delgado when the 6-foot-10 forward was in a similar position two years prior.

“I’m very proud of him,” Willard told the New York Post’s Zach Braziller with regard to Powell. “He went through the process, he made an educated decision based on feedback, and he’s in a great position to be one of the best college basketball players in the country next season and become an NBA player.”

“We’re excited to have him back,” the coach added in an interview with the Asbury Park Press’ Jerry Carino, who also reported that Willard spent the past three days with Powell in Los Angeles, where the junior went through his final workouts and preparations. “I’m really proud of the way he attacked the process with maturity. He looked at it as, ‘What do I need to do long-term and where am I at?’ I think he grew up a lot and learned a lot about himself.”

Long hyped as a great scorer, Powell stands some 800 points shy of matching Terry Dehere’s program record. Should the Trenton native match his scoring average of last season, he would come very close to eclipsing the number of 2,494 set by Dehere, who parlayed his success in South Orange into becoming a lottery pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. Over a quarter-century later, it seems that regardless of how its coda is written, Powell’s legacy is well on its way to becoming immortal.