Playing basketball since he was 4 years old, Lakeside High School’s Sam Powell enjoys the game for a simple reason.
“It’s fun just being able to go out and do something you love to do in front of a bunch of fans,” said the Panthers’ senior.
And the fans – not to mention the Panthers coaching staff and his teammates – should love what they see from him. The versatile small forward is following up two seasons as an all-region performer with early-season performances that seem destined to land him there a third time.
The Panthers have raced out to a 6-2 record behind the play of Powell, who seems equally comfortable shoooting 3-pointers or taking defenders to the hole. He leads the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging just under 16 points- and nine rebounds-per-game, respectively.
Panthers head coach Jody Hilley loves what he gets from Powell in all capacities.
“He’s a floor leader,” said Hilley. “I mean he leads by example. Probably one of the best kids I’ve ever coached, character-wise. The kids look up and respect him because of the kind of person that he is. More so than the basketball player. I think that just carries over onto the court.”
Having been on the team since his freshman year, Powell understood what his role on the team needed to be.
“Playing varsity for four years I’d say a leader,” said Powell. “I’m not a very vocal guy, but let my actions speak for me. Not only to excel on the floor but off it, too.”
Powell thinks growing up and dedication has helped his game flourish.
“I play smarter,” Powell said. “Maturity helps a lot. Just the small things like getting quicker and stronger and shooting and being able to finish. Just working every aspect.”
Hilley feels comfortable with the decisions that Powell makes out on the court because of his athleticism.
“He’s got a strong first step and I tell him anytime you feel like you can take your man to the basket, he has the green light for that,” said Hilley, adding that Powell is an excellent free-throw shooter as well.
He played football as a middle-schooler, but gave it up, saying it was too hot outside for him. He plans to continue playing basktball at the next level, however.
“I plan to play in college, I just don’t know where yet,” he said. “There’s about four or five different schools looking at me, so that’s pretty good.”
He may study something in the medical field at college and is getting a head start with his senior project, which is on hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
“I haven’t done my project yet, but I’m going to shadow a cardiologist and I’m going to take echo cardiograms of a normal heart and a hypertrophic heart and compare them,” Powell said.
After Christmas break, teams jump into region play, and Powell likes the Panthers’ chances.
“We have potential to go far,” Powell said. “We have to play well every game and play together. It’s going to be intense, but it should be fun.”