Dwight Powell Diary: Basketball HOF Invitational
Powell continues around the country, this time to Springfield, MA.
Dwight Powell, a rising senior at the IMG Basketball Academy, is one of the top recruits in the country. He plays AAU with Grassroots Canada. Schools in the ACC, PAC-10 and SEC have expressed interest such as Vanderbilt, California, UCLA, Stanford, Virginia and even Harvard. The 6-9, 220-pound forward is spending a few days this summer participating in basketball camps, including the NBPA Top 100, Harvard Camp, Amar’e Stoudemire Skills Academy and LeBron James Skills Academy. Powell, also a 4.0 student, will give SLAM a first-hand account of the camps throughout the summer.—Franklyn Calle
With the NBPA Top 100, Harvard, Amar’e Stoudemire and LeBron James academies over, the Basketball Hall of Fame National Invitational in Springfield is up next on my summer schedule.
I took the train to Springfield from Boston the day after the King City Classic, and since I had no day off the mid-day train arrived for my Grassroots Canada AAU team’s second game. Grassroots Canada has four total teams in the tournament – the 14s, 15s, 16s, and my team, the 17′s. Because of different events around the country, we are often short one or two players. This tournament, we were short three of our regular players. Tristan Thompson and Corey Joseph were in New Zealand representing Canada in a global tournament and Myke Kabongo was attending and speaking at a camp in Toronto.
Even though we were short a few players, we were able to win our first and second games, with Brady Heslip splashing eight three-pointers in our second game. The most challenging of the two was against the Florida Rams, who were anchored down low by highly ranked seven-footer Fab Melo. By winning the first two games, we earned a spot in the championship game. At first, I was surprised to hear the tournament was only one day. I later learned that because of the huge amount of teams, day one was a mini-tournament for the top 8 elite teams to showcase in front of the college coaches.
We unfortunately lost the championship to the New England Playaz, who actually did not even have their best player in Nate Lubick. In our defense, we had some trouble getting to the game and started without a warm up, plus we were missing our bench players. But excuses aside, we came back from down 20 to within four before losing.
AAU is an experience that every player should go through in order to fully appreciate the structured schedule of high school basketball. When we got out of the van after an eight-hour drive back to Toronto at 5 p.m., I realized that I hadn’t been back to my hometown in months. I went out for dinner with a few friends and spent some time with my dad.
Like I said AAU is an “experience,” and this weekend was no exception. We were back on the road the following morning at 4 a.m. to catch a 6:30 a.m. flight to Minneapolis.
The AAU train never stops!