Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Josh Powell Sighting



Clippers add frontcourt depth by signing forward Josh Powell

The Clippers added frontcourt depth Tuesday by signing former North Carolina State forward Josh Powell.

Elton Brand, the Clippers' starting power forward, ruptured his left Achilles tendon earlier this month and is expected to be sidelined for the first several months of the season.

I've been pulling for Josh. When he left NC State, it sure seemed like one of those bone-headed moves destined to ruin his future prospects. No-one on the planet thought he was ready for the NBA, and he wasn't, but a long stint in the NBDL has turned him into a decent NBA player. We'll never really know how good he could have been in college, or whether staying in college would have made him a better pro.

It also seems that we may never know the real reasons he left college early. By all accounts, he was a great student and very bright, which led to a lot of speculation and rumors that he left either because he didn't get along with Herb, Julius Hodge, or Damien Wilkins. I've always thought that he may have resented being over-shadowed by Jules, and certainly people with some personalities might have trouble with Jules.

One moment always stuck in my mind. When Powell signed, it was a really big deal for Herb and the wolfpack. He was going to be the star of the class and was a sign that State was turning things around. But then Julius Hodge became the complete focus of the staff, media, and fans. At the yearly Red/White scrimmage, played at the RBC Center before a football game, both Jules and Powell were sitting baseline to watch the scrimmage. They were high-school seniors at the time. The fans, seeing Jules, started chant after chant of "Julius - Hodge". I sat, watching this and watching Powell during it. He seemed amused at first, then maybe slightly irritated. Finally, after 15 minutes or so the fans had the sense to change Josh Powell, but I've always wondered if the seeds of some jealousy were sown then, that eventually led to Powell's escape.

Just remembered one other thing on the topic. Powell's last game for the wolfpack was in an overtime loss to Cal in the NCAA first round in Oklahoma City. I made the insane drive from Raleigh to OK for that game. It was a very painful loss, punctuated by a failed end of game play that I don't really remember, but know didn't include Powell as the 1st or 2nd option. Powell had played a good game, but the staff drew something up for someone else at the end of the game. After the game, Julius Hodge called out the coaching staff, saying something to the media to the effect of "Josh owned those guys, and I can't believe we didn't keep going to him". No idea what the quote is, but it was very much out of character for Julius and I thought at the time it was a sign of trouble. In retrospect, I think it was Julius knowing that Powell was extremely frustrated and was possibly considering leaving, and was trying to do something to boost Powell and hopefully talk him into staying.

3 comments:

Jarrett Carter said...

Way for the Clippers to maintain that ACC love.

Now if they would just maintain some ACC hate and divorce Sam Cassell.

Anonymous said...

One important point of clarification ---

At the time of Red/White game you referenced, Josh Powell had already committed to NC State and Julius Hodge had NOT. Hodge was actually in town for his official visit during that weekend.

Fans knew this. Fans also knew that Hodge was a Top 10 recruit. It wasn't a matter of the fans 'picking' Julius over Josh...it was a matter of selling Julius as opposed to Josh in light of Hodges' ongoing recruitment.

Ken White said...

Yep, that is correct. Not saying the fans were making a mistake though, just kind of noticed the uninstended consequence that Josh might have taken offense.