Valparaiso men’s basketball head coach Bryce Drew announced today that the Crusaders have hired former University of Illinois standout Roger Powell Jr. as an assistant coach. Powell has spent the last six years playing professional basketball, including a stint with the Utah Jazz of the NBA.
“Roger will be a fantastic addition to our staff,” said Drew. “He brings a tremendous basketball resume with him, along with the same character and values that our university and program represent. We are excited to get him here and then on the road recruiting, where he should be a great asset for us.”
A three-year starter for the Ilini, Powell earned Honorable Mention All-Big Ten recognition in each of his final two seasons after being named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team as a sophomore. Powell helped Illinois to three Big Ten regular season titles and a pair of Big Ten tournament championships during his time with the Ilini, as well as berths in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2002-2003 and 2003-2004.
Powell’s career at Illinois culminated in his senior year of 2004-2005, as he started all 39 games that season for the Ilini, averaging career bests of 12.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Powell helped Illinois to the most successful season in program history, as the Ilini won 29 straight games to open the season en route to finishing 37-2, spent most of the season ranked #1 in the nation and advanced to the national championship game of the NCAA Tournament. Powell closed his four-year Illinois career with 1,178 points, among the top-30 scorers in Ilini history, and 531 rebounds.
Following his collegiate career, Powell earned a spot in the Seattle SuperSonics training camp before eventually playing the 2005-2006 season for the Rockford Lightning of the CBA, where he earned CBA Rookie of the Year accolades. He then made the roster of the Utah Jazz for the 2006-2007 NBA season and spent the first half of the season with the Jazz before joining the Arkansas Rimrockers of the NBDL. Powell concluded the 2007 season with the Rimrockers, leading the NBDL with 22.3 points per game and earning the league’s Jason Collier Sportsmanship Award, which is awarded to the player who best represents the ideals of character and conduct on and off the court.
Powell spent time in the training camp of the Chicago Bulls in both 2008 and 2010, and has spent much of the last four years playing internationally. He has played in the top leagues in Italy (Teramo Basket), Israel (Hapoel Jerusalem), Spain (CB Murcia) and France (JDA Dijon). Most recently, Powell played for the Deutsche Bank Skyliners of the Basketball Bundesliga in Germany, where he helped the Skyliners to a second-place regular season finish and a berth in the league semifinals.
“I am extremely excited about this opportunity to start my college coaching career at Valparaiso University,” said Powell. “The Drew family has built a successful and competitive program that prizes integrity and character. I am truly blessed to join the Valpo family.”