Prior to starting his professional career, Myles Powell reached stardom at Seton Hall. In his four collegiate years, Powell showed to an effective scorer and was one of the top scorers in the Big East last season. He was a Consensus first-team All-American, was Big East Player of the Year, and was named to the First-team All-Big East team in his senior season. The Seton Hall product earned the Jerry West Award and the Haggerty Award in 2020.
After a four-year career at Seton Hall, Myles Powell went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft. He signed with the New York Knicks less than two weeks following the draft and started out his professional career with the Westchester Knicks. He thrived in his role in the second unit and continued to be a productive player in his three starts.
Here’s part one of the interview with Myles Powell.
Note: The interview was done prior to Myles Powell signing a two-way contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Chris Priczak: What were your expectations heading into the NBA Draft and did not being drafted really have any effect on you?
Myles Powell: “Of course, it had a little bit of effect on me. I feel like every kid growing up that plays basketball and goes onto Division-1 basketball; they always dream about hearing their name called that night. Having the career that I had at Seton Hall. Coming into that night and not really knowing if I was going to get drafted or not. But you know, us kids, we all think that we’re going to hear our name called that night, even though unfortunately that’s not possible. But like I said, we go in there with our head up high. I don’t want to say it knocked my confidence.
But I mean, it was a reality check. I’ve been here before. I feel like I’ve been an underdog my whole life. Coming from Seton Hall. Starting college at 260 pounds. I wasn’t really supposed to be in this situation at all. So the draft just helped me pretty much take a couple steps back and just realize how real life was and how real life was about to start getting. It was time for me to put my big boy pants on and just accept the reality. I feel like it helped me because it just motivated me more. The whole plan of me coming into the (G League) bubble. I just wanted to prove to the league and the whole world that they made a mistake not calling my name that night and that I’m one of the best rookies in this class.”
CP: Is there anything that you picked up on during your time with the New York Knicks in training camp and preseason that helped you grow early in your career?
MP: “Just how important defense is for me. Coming from Seton Hall and just knowing score, score, score, score, score score. Then coming from college with a coach like (Tom) Thibodeau that is heavy on defense. That was another reality check that I faced early. It helped me grow as a man on and off the court because I realized that if you didn’t play defense, you weren’t going to play because everybody in this league can score the basketball.”
CP: When you were in training camp, you had those point guard battles with Dennis Smith Jr. and Elfrid Payton. Did that help you going against those two in practice?
MP: “Yeah, it always did. It wasn’t just them two either. Me and Quick (Immanuel Quickley) came in every day ready to battle and were pushing each other. Austin Rivers was there as well. He was pushing us as well. Him being the vet. EP and Dennis, like you mentioned. Me and Dennis had a real good relationship off the court before I came to the Knicks, so that just added some more chemistry to it. But like I said, the Knicks organization was a good locker room. It was a group of guys and they were helping me.
So it was a lot of it was a lot of rookies that came to the bubble that didn’t have any experience in the NBA yet like their first time was down here. I was blessed and lucky enough to go through the situation I went through with the Knicks and was able to learn from some veteran guys.”
CP: I’ve heard some people mention it’s like a business mindset heading into this bubble being there for a month and this month could possibly lead to your next opportunity. What was your mindset heading into the bubble?
MP: “Just to come in here and prove to the world, the Knicks, and everybody in the NBA that I belong. I know coming in, I was one of the best one of the best rookies in this class. I just came here with the confidence and I feel like that that’s what I’m proving here in this month that we’re in the bubble that I belong.”
CP: With the way that the G League is and the G League grind, what keeps you motivated as you go through the season as you’re trying to work towards that NBA opportunity?
MP: “Just not hearing my name called that night. That motivated me a lot. It was a reality check. I remember that day how disappointed I was. Whenever I’m going through everything, the ups and the downs, I just remind myself that I’m built for this. That if it was easy, everybody would be doing it. I just want to be a role model to the kids back home (in New Jersey). Showing them that no matter what happens and no matter how much the odds are against you; if you believe in yourself and you put your mind to it, that you can achieve anything that you want to achieve.”
Stayed tuned for part two of the Myles Powell interview.