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Former N-C star Powell overcomes obstacles

January 5, 2012

Photo by Kevin Dorsey/North Carolina A&T

Having trouble getting recruited, former Newton-Conover basketball player Adrian Powell found a way to play Div. I basketball.

When he finally got his chance and nearly lost the opportunity, the 2008 CVAC player of the year found a way to persevere.

Following graduation from Newton-Conover in 2008, Powell sought the Div. I basketball spotlight, enrolling at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va. for one year.

“Newton is such a small market,” Powell said. “Playing Div. I basketball had always been my dream for a long time. I hadn’t received enough looks because of Newton being a small market. Coach Corey Nixon got in touch with Massanutten’s coach, and I went up there for a year. It was a way to get my name out there."

Under Massanutten coach Cedric Broadhurt, Powell averaged 14 points and four rebounds per game, earning him three scholarship offers at Alcorn State, Alabama State and North Carolina A&T.

Powell said the choice between the three was easy.

"I had a couple of offers," Powell said. "I had offers from Alcorn State and Alabama State, but those were far away from home. I wanted my family to come see me play. I decided to go the A&T because it wasn’t, but an hour and 20 minutes away from them.”

Things were looking up for the 6-foot 6-inch, 188-pound forward, but a mistake cost him his scholarship during his freshman year.

He didn’t let that deter him, eventually gaining back his scholarship the next season and earning back pay from the school as well.

“I lost the scholarship, but I got it back,” Powell said. “I put in the hard work, and was dedicated.”

From there, he was able to contribute a lot during his sophomore campaign, earning the team’s most improved player award.

“Last year, I ended up being the second-best player on the team,” Powell said. “I helped our star player, Thomas Coleman, who is overseas right now. I went from averaging 0.4 points my freshman year, which I only played a couple of games, to starting full-time from the second game on during my sophomore season.”

During the difficult stretch in his life, Powell said he remembered his late father, Calvin Baker.

“This is all a blessing,” Powell said. “When I got my scholarship taken away, I just thought about working hard. I knew my dad would want me to work hard to get it back. I tried to make the best of the situation. I didn’t try to get myself down, go to another school or quit because I had my scholarhip taken. Every time I got quiet, I’d think of dad. He would probably want me to work harder, try to get my scholarship back and make the best of the situation.”

This season, Powell is averaging 8.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, and shooting 51.9 percent from the field.

Powell and the Aggies are poised to host their first conference game Saturday against Bethune-Cookman at 4 p.m. The team is 4-0 at home for the season.

“Everything is going pretty good right now,” Powell said. “We start our first conference game this Saturday. I’m still starting this year. I’ve been averaging about eight points a game, but my goal is to get that average up. I haven’t been playing my best basketball, but I feel like it’s going to come around soon. We should be a team to reckon with in the conference. As long as everybody plays as a team, we should come out on top of our conference.”

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