Seton Hall star Myles Powell gave all the credit to God after scoring 29 points in the first half to lead the Pirates to a 73-57 blowout of Georgetown in the Big East Tournament on Thursday night.
Powell showed no signs of pride when told his 29-point half was the best in any of the hundreds of games since the Big East tournament moved to New York City in 1983.
He told a room full of Madison Square Garden reporters that his performance was “a blessing from the Man above.”
The Western Journal caught Powell in the locker room afterward and asked about his comment.
“I’m a Christian,” he said. “God is always first, and without the Man above I would not be in the position I am in right now.”
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 15, 2019
The Big East includes nine of the 41 Catholic schools in Division I basketball, including a Villanova team that won two of the last three national championships.
Clergy are common in Big East lockers rooms and alongside players on the bench. The only non-Catholic team in the conference is Butler, which plays in the Indiana gym in which the movie Hoosiers was filmed.
The Western Journal informed Powell that he was the Value Add Basketball Big East MVP and was rated as slightly more valuable than even Marquette’s Markus Howard, the Big East Player of the Year and a selection as one of the top 10 players in the country, according to the Sports Illustrated and Sporting News All-American teams released Wednesday.
The Seton Hall guard said he was honored to come out first in those rankings but stayed humble when talking about his rival superstar and fellow Christian Howard.
“Markus Howard is my man, and he definitely deserved the award too,” Powell said. “Hopefully I can win it next year.”
“But this is about my teammates and playing Seton Hall basketball. We lost four seniors and this was supposed to be a rebuilding year, but we are playing Seton Hall basketball right now,” he added, referring to the Pirates being picked to finish eighth of 10 Big East Teams only to finish third in a season in which they shocked Louisville, Kentucky, Marquette and Villanova.
Howard scored 30 points earlier Thursday as Marquette beat St. John’s 86-64 to set up a Big East semifinal matchup between the two stars Friday night.
The winner will play in the championship game Saturday night against Villanova or Xavier.
Howard received more publicity than Powell after becoming the first college player this century to score 50 points twice, and also being the first to score 40 in a half in a different game.
Faith is a big part of the Marquette star’s life.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Howard “founded a Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at Marquette this season with about 20 athletes meeting every Sunday. In the offseason, he traveled to Costa Rica to help build a basketball court through the nonprofit charity Courts for Kids.”
“Basketball is something that’s been in my whole life as long as I can remember,” Howard told the Tribune. “In college, I can decide to be the man I want to be. (My parents have) been on me about (how) there will be a time you’ll stop playing. You can impact your campus and others’ lives the best you can now.”
Through the regular season, the Value Add rankings calculated that Powell was worth 9.0 points above a replacement player to Seton Hall, while Howard was worth 8.92. St. John’s Shamorie Ponds was right with the other two but had a bad night against Marquette to drop behind.
Powell isn’t the first Value Add Big East MVP to express humility and faith after not being named the conference’s sole player of the year.
In 2015, Providence’s Kris Dunn only shared the Big East honor despite the fact that Value Add indicated he was by far the best player in the conference. In an interview, however, Dunn, who currently earns $4 million a year with the Chicago Bulls, didn’t complain about the apparent slight.
Dunn gave his testimonial, concluding with, “I tell people that if you trust in God, you can believe (you can do) anything.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.