With the NBA Draft on Thursday, Go Joe Bruin will be looking into a few of the UCLA Basketball team’s potential draft selections. Today we look at UCLA fan favorite and four-year Bruin, Norman Powell.
About Norman Powell
Weight: 215 lbs.
Wingspan: 6′ 10.75″
Standing Reach: 8′ 6.5″
No Step Vertical: 32.5″
Max Vertical: 40.5″
To say that Norman Powell will be missed is an understatement. For the last four years, Powell has given his heart and soul to the UCLA basketball team. In his first two years, Bruin fans did not know much about Powell except for the occasional highlight dunk and defensive pervasiveness. That was during the time that former coach Ben Howland was running the team.
In Powell’s final two years, when Howland was replaced with current coach Steve Alford, we saw the full potential of what the San Diego native could do. With UCLA playing a more uptempo style of basketball, Powell came into his own. Not only did he nearly double his points per game, but we saw more and more of his signature highlights dunks.
To see just how well he progressed from years 1 and 2 to 3 and 4, check out his statistics over his UCLA career.
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Why Powell Will Be An Asset
Nov 23, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Norman Powell (4) shoots against Long Beach State 49ers forward Temidayo Yussuf (4) during the second half at Pauley Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Powell never quits. Though it was apparent that things were a little tough for him under Howland, he was really able to display his skills with Alford. In that time, we got to see a player that went all out when he was allowed to play with more freedom.
Let us first focus on his defense. One of the reasons he was brought to Westwood was because of his raw athleticism. Though he did not show a lot on the offensive side in his first two years, his defense was particularly vital to his development. Every year he has been a Bruin, he has led by example on defense. This past season, aside from leading the Bruins in steals, he was a Pac-12 All-Defensive Team Honorable mention, his second consecutive honor.
But if you ask any Bruin fan, the thing that really made Powell stand out was his spectacular dunks. Oh my, there were many.
Aside from his dunking ability, which is top notch, Powell also has fantastic offensive prowess. He was good with the ball, has a great basketball IQ and developed into a fantastic team leader.
What Powell Has To Work On
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Though Powell can be an offensive and defensive weapon, he can be inconsistent at times. He has never been in a scoring slump that spanned several games, but he has been known to be absent from individual contests from time to time. Though it is few and far between, with Powell as one of UCLA’s primary scorers, it affected the whole team when he could not get things going.
Also, Powell was not the best shooter. Sure he could occasionally get the hot hand and be able to hit shots from every spot on the court, but for the most part, Powell’s talents shined when he was able to drive to the rim.
As for being defended, Powell needs to improve his mechanicals to muscle around larger, quicker and more athletic specimens in the NBA. Though he has not peaked, if he does not develop properly in the next few years, he will be shut down more often than not.
Draft Express: #49 Washington Wizards
NBA.com: #37 Philadelphia 76ers
Yahoo! Sports: #48 Oklahoma City Thunder
ESPN: #46 Milwaukee Bucks
NBADraft.net: #29 Brooklyn Nets
Norman Powell needs a few seasons to develop in the NBA. If he goes to a team that has a solid core and can learn from veteran players and coaches, he should do well as a solid back-up. Although Powell could benefit from some D-League experience, he also has enough talent to make an NBA roster.