Former University of Illinois standout Roger Powell Jr. is entering his fifth season as an assistant coach for the Valparaiso men’s basketball program in 2015-2016. Powell was named the top assistant coach in the Horizon League by Next Up Recruits in the summer of 2013.
Powell has helped lead the Crusaders to 92 wins over his first four seasons as a member of the Crusader coaching staff, including a school-record 28 victories in 2014-2015. Valpo captured the Horizon League regular season title in three of his first four seasons, while the Crusaders' 2012-2013 and 2014-2015 squads also won the Horizon League tournament championship. The Crusaders have appeared in the postseason in each of Powell's four seasons on staff, making two trips to the NCAA Tournament and one apiece to the Postseason NIT and the CIT.
With the Crusaders, Powell works with both the post and perimeter players in skill development. He also is heavily involved with the Crusaders’ recruiting efforts. In the summer of 2013, Powell served as head coach of an Athletes in Action team which toured Lithuania, and in the summer of 2015, he led an AIA team as head coach on a tour of Poland.
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.
Off the court, Powell founded RPJ Ministries Organization, which mentors and trains young leaders to be Godly examples on their sports team and school campuses. He also founded Integrity Sports Corporation, a company focused on building basketball skills and integrity of high school and junior high athletes. A 2005 graduate of the University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign with a degree in speech communications, Powell and his wife, Tara, have a daughter, Bria, and a son, Liam.