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Watson: Powell has skills needed to succeed in NBA

Duane Watson

6/22/2014 12:55:01 PM

The 2014 NBA Draft will be a historic one for Canadian basketball, with as many as seven players from Canada - three of them as high as the first round - possibly selected. In the days leading up to the draft, TSN.ca and TSN Radio basketball analyst Duane Watson looks at some of the names that will be headlining the event. Watch the 2014 NBA Draft on TSN, Thursday at 7pm et/4pm pt.

Name: Dwight Powell
From: Toronto, Ontario
Played: Stanford University
Height: 6'11
Weight:  235
Position: Power Forward
2013-2014 Stats: 14 points per game, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists
Breakout Game: 22 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists in win vs. California Feb 5th.
Accolades: 2013-'14 All Pac-12 First Team, Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Draft Projection: Mid-late second round.

Dwight Powell isn't supposed to be here.

Stanford yielded a handful of NBA pros and hadn't been to the NCAA Tournament since 2008 - not the standard route to becoming an NBA Draft prospect. Last year, after a standout junior season, he earned himself a spot on the All Pac-10 First Team. Powell averaged 14.9 points and 8.4 rebounds making an NBA career a legitimate possibility.

Usually a promise from a team committing to select them makes a player leave college early. In this case, Powell made a promise to his mother, who was ailing from cancer to finish school, get his degree and compete in the NCAA tournament for the first time. Jacqueline Weir passed in 2012 and while it's no secret Powell led the Cardinals to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament in March, what got him there and what tools will he need to excel at the next level?

Powell is a forward who can face up on the floor whether to make a move to create his own shot or facilitate for others, as he's a more than capable passer for his size/position. While he will need to bulk up for the NBA game, his length (7' wingspan) and mobility are assets. Powell posses a strong basketball IQ, and while his motor isn't in question, an on court intensity would be welcomed. He will need to develop more consistency in a number of areas, particularly with his jump shot and adding range.
 
With more potential than project, Powell has a skill set to contribute to an NBA team and enough talent and physical gifts to build upon. While many were expecting significant jumps from his on court performance from his junior to senior years, the growth in character and leadership cannot be overlooked either. Powell competed for the national program as a key member of Canada's Men's Developmental basketball team that traveled overseas tallying a 15-2 record last summer.

Powell kept his word to his mother, now he just has to show enough promise to warrant an NBA team realizing he has enough of it, to select him.