In May, Myles Powell decided to return for his senior season, sending shockwaves throughout the college basketball landscape. Powell worked out with several NBA teams and tested the draft waters, but opted instead to hone his craft at Seton Hall for one final season. After winning the Big East Most Improved Player award in his sophomore year, Powell continued his upward trajectory last year. Powell was the focal point of Seton Hall’s offense and finished with a Top 60 usage rate (30.9%). The Trenton, NJ native led the Pirates with 23.1 PPG, ranking 13th in the nation. His 784 total points ranked 10th-most in the nation, 258 more than his sophomore year. He also led the team in made and attempted field goals, free throws, steals, and minutes played. This season, it is not unrealistic to expect Powell to meet or exceed last season’s mark of 89% of total minutes played for the Pirates. In 2017-18, Powell scored at least 20 points 5 times through 34 games. Last year, he scored at least 20 points in 23 of 34 games. This increase highlights Powell’s rise to offensive dominance, and his growth into one of the best scorers in the nation. However, he has also shown improvement in areas besides scoring since his sophomore year. In 2018-19, he increased his 2P%, FT%, rebounds per game, and steals per game from the prior year.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Powell’s junior year stats is that he accrued them despite every opponent focusing on slowing him down. At some points throughout the season he even faced a box-and-1 defensive scheme, reminiscent of Steph Curry’s college days at Davidson. One of the ways that Powell was able to break through the double teams and defensive rotations was by attacking aggressively through drives. While he is an outstanding outside shooter (7th in 3P% in the Big East), his aggressive drives to the hoop created open looks for his teammates, and caused nightmares for defenders.
This clip shows two important facets of Powell’s offensive game: scoring in transition, and beating one-on-one defense off the dribble. In the first highlight Powell breaks out for an outlet pass in transition, and continues his momentum to the basket to draw contact and make a tough shot. In the second highlight, the 6’2″ guard glides past his defender in a half-court set and finishes over two opponents, drawing a foul once again. Both examples demonstrate Powell’s fearlessness while driving the lane, and his creativity around the rim. The ability to invite contact and finish at the basket makes Powell one of the most elite scorers in the nation when combined with his outside game. It also led to the third-most free throw attempts and second-most free throws made in the Big East last season. Powell shot 84% from the charity stripe, which was an improvement from 79% in his sophomore season, and 81.7% in his freshman year. If he can sustain or improve that level of free-throw shooting, he will be even more lethal, and could reach 25+ PPG.
This summer, Powell gained valuable experience while representing Team USA in the Pan-American games. The team was comprised of Big East players, including Seton Hall teammate Myles Cale. In their second game, Powell dropped 30 points against Venezuela, shooting 12-of-18 from the field. This national team experience is extremely beneficial, and additional training time for Cale and Powell can only increase their chemistry heading into the season. One year removed from making the Big East First Team in both the regular season and conference tournament, Powell is a lock to repeat those honors in 2019-20. He enters what is essentially a two-man race for Big East POY vs. Markus Howard, and their matchups this season will be electric, to say the least. In three matchups against Marquette last year, Powell averaged 25.7 PPG, including a 34 point/5 rebound/5 assist outburst in early March. He will almost certainly need to lead his team to their fifth-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in order to win Conference POY, and the Pirates are primed to do so. Seton Hall returns 4 starters from last year’s 20-win team, but it will be up to senior leader Myles Powell to carry them deep into March.