NEWARK — If Thursday night was just a trailer for this season’s Myles Powell Show, Seton Hall fans — and the nation — are in for a treat.
37 points on 27 shots against a preseason No. 1 with a bad left ankle? Just another day at the office for Myles Powell, albeit this work shift was in front of roughly 20 NBA scouts.
Powell looked keen to shoot it from anywhere north of Trenton against No. 3 Michigan State with almost all of this 14 three-point attempts of high difficulty and long range in the 76-73 loss.
Squaring his feet up to the basket to take an in-rhythm catch-and-shoot pass is a thing of the past for the Jersey native.
“Their kid Myles [Powell] is one of the great players I’ve ever seen in college basketball,” stated Tom Izzo.
“He seems to play hard, he seems to have fun, he seems like a great kid. Doesn’t talk a lot of crap, he just did it the right way … I don’t know who can guard Powell. He just did an incredible job and deserves every accolade he gets.”
When critiquing his team’s defense, Izzo gave an unworldly compliment to Powell.
“We did a poor job getting up on the ball screens, but I don’t know if God could have stopped him [Powell] on some of those shots. I shouldn’t blame my guys until I watch the film.”
Let’s not forget that Powell did all of this while not 100-percent. Well, how could you forget?
In retrospect, it seems clear that Willard’s very early diagnosis of Powell’s injury post-Stony Brook was at the very least somewhat deceptive, but it truly was a game-day decision.
“He said when he came back in for film that he was ready to go. We worked out this morning at 10 a.m., he didn’t practice yesterday, he did some dummy offense yesterday when he walked through. He came in, he said he was ready to go and he wants to play. I knew he’d play, I didn’t think he’d be able to do what he did. That just shows you what a special player he is.”
Looks like Willard forgot to get his story straight with Powell.
“When you guys found out, 35 minutes before [the game],” said Powell of when he knew he’d play.
“When I first came out, Coach told me to sit on the sideline, he wasn’t sure if he was going to let me go. I came back in and we looked at each other and I said ‘Coach, I’ve got you. I’m ready.’ I went back out the second time after we watched film and went over a couple plays and he told me I was good to go. And yeah I was ready.”
Regardless of the truth behind Powellgate, he clearly wasn’t playing at full strength.
Powell seemed gimpy after scoring the cherry-picking style bucket late in the first half, he was on the floor in Michigan State’s backcourt to set up the hoop. After potentially cramping and rubbing both his calves before a pair of free throws, Powell left the game late in the second half and was being looked at by the team’s trainer, missing a quick team huddle.
Powell attributed his ability to play through it to just about everything but himself.
“It was a big part,” said Powell of the adrenaline. “You dream about games like this. It’s nothing you pass up on. Talking to God all week, when you talk to him a lot more than when you just need something, he’s on your side.”
Maybe that’s why God couldn’t stop some of his long-range threes.
“My passion, my teammates and my coaches believing in me [made it possible]. Even with my ankle, when I got out there I wasn’t worried about that, I was just trying to do whatever I can do to make my team win.”
Powell eventually started to dismiss questions about his ankle, stating he’ll be fine for the game against Saint Louis on Sunday, but not before giving some more credit.
“I want to shout out our fans. They played a big part. They helped me get through the game. I’ve been saying it since I got here: I love our fans, I know they love us. They always support us.
“It’s bigger than basketball with the Seton Hall family and I just want to thank them again.”