Powell preferred to focus on what he called a chip on his shoulder while leading the tournament's youngest roster. He showed Big East rivals and Team USA backcourt mates Collin Gillespie of Villanova and guard Alpha Diallo of Providence the proper reverence as they fought for a common goal.
"Everybody can play," Powell said at the beginning of the tournament. "We're in a really good conference and I think we're showing the world that right now."
U.S. guard Myles Powell, who will be a senior at Seton Hall this season, has shown glimpses at the Pan American Games of becoming a top-flight scorer at the next level. AP Photo/Martin Mejia
So jumping two steps ahead to gauge his NBA draft prospects with his senior season ahead of him is a further exercise in futility. If Lima 2019 is any indication, however, and if you listen to those around him at the Pan American Games, he's in for a smooth landing at the next level.
The U.S. men won bronze, falling short of their goal of winning Pan American gold for the first time since 1983. They were at times overwhelmed by a veteran gold-medal winning Argentina squad and a young Puerto Rico team that won silver. Still, Powell showed glimpses of reinforcing his credentials as a top-flight scorer capable of taking over a game.
"He's a helluva player," said U.S. center Geoffrey Groselle, who graduated from Creighton in 2016. "I've played with a lot of good guards, a lot of pro guards, and he could hang with the best of them. He's got a quick trigger, and when he's hot, he's hot. He's not missing."
Powell was hot in a 70-53 preliminary-round victory over Venezuela, scoring a tournament-high 30 points on 9-of-9 shooting from inside the arc. He also scored 19 in the opener and finished in Lima averaging 14.6 points per game, second on the team to Diallo's 15.0.
Powell's reputation as a scorer was established before the Pan American Games. The guard was 13th in the nation in scoring last season at 23.1 points per game -- the highest average in Seton Hall history -- for a team that finished 20-14 and upset Kentucky in December thanks in part to his 28 points. His 107 3-pointers last season are also a school record in one season. Team USA's Ed Cooley, who faces Powell twice a year as Providence's head coach, called him the best shooter in college basketball.
Powell tested the NBA draft waters as allowed under the NCAA but decided to come back for his senior season, leaving Seton Hall poised to make a run at fifth straight NCAA tournament appearance.
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