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Powers looks to return to NCAAs in final year

Cam Keough/The Chronicle

Deron Powers is no stranger to winning. In fact, he’s done it practically everywhere he’s gone.

In his final collegiate season, the senior transfer point guard is hoping to lead a championship team one last time.

His style of play is unmistakable: at 6 feet, he is a blazing fast floor general that can shoot the ball from all angles of the floor.

“For me, you’re going to expect fast, you’re going to have to watch and slow it down with your eyes,” Powers said. “You’re also going to see a lot of excitement, fancy plays and great basketball.”

Powers gained Division I attention from his play at Williamsburg Christian Academy in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he is the all-time scoring leader with more than 2,000 points, and the MVP on a team that won a state title.

Although he was such a commodity on the court, Powers says the college offers didn’t flow in as much as expected. But among the coaching staffs that gave a look to signing Powers was Joe Mihalich and Mike Farrelly at Niagara University.

Deron instead went to play just 45 minutes down I-64 at Hampton University.

And the victories kept coming.

Powers was honored with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Rookie of the Year award with almost 12 points per game and 4.6 assists, but his team bowed out in their first MEAC Tournament matchup.

The year where Power’s team broke through was when the Pirates had their worst MEAC record (8-8).

They topped four teams in six days at the MEAC Tournament to go dancing in the field of 68. With their automatic bid, they defeated Manhattan in a First Four matchup where Powers had eight points and seven assists.

They later fell to overall No. 1 seed Kentucky by 23.

Despite three years of successful play, Powers was looking for more in his last season.

His wish seemed to be granted by a familiar coaching duo of Mihalich and Farrelly, who were able to bring him to Hempstead to play at Hofstra.

“For one, this was a bigger program,” Powers said.

“I felt like it was a better fit and was going to help me in the longer run.”

Feeling comfortable and excited, Powers stayed at a mid-major program.

He improved the level of play significantly.

The MEAC ranked dead last at 32nd in conference RPI last season, while the CAA came in ninth, according to CBS.

Before he could officially put on a Pride uniform, he had to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, but he had great protégés to learn from in point guard in Juan’ya Green and Pride assistant coach Speedy Claxton, a NBA champion point guard.

“The most important thing I learned from them was the mental part of the game,” Powers said.

“Coming into a bigger program, they talk about things to better myself in the CAA.”

With just one year to adjust to a new program and work on his craft, Deron admits there were some bumps in the road.

“I’m not going to lie, it was a bit of a struggle,” Powers said.

“It was more mental, because coming in I knew I wasn’t playing, so I was down on myself and not really into it sometimes because I had to sit out practices.”

“This year I definitely adapted right away, quickly, starting in the summertime.”

A new program meant a new culture, regimens and beginnings. Powers made sure he was ready and took the changes head-on.

“The most important thing I wanted to work on was my body. Coming into the weight room they really hit me hard and that was one thing we didn’t do a lot of at Hampton,” Powers said.

Shifting to his one and only season with the Pride, Powers started things off with an impressive 12 points and four assists as the starting point guard vs. Coppin State University, a familiar opponent from the MEAC.

He’s since added accurate passing to his arsenal, posting eight assists each in Hofstra’s last two games against Columbia and Florida Atlantic

He leads Hofstra with 4.2 assists per contest.

This past week, Powers averaged 16 points per game, bringing his streak of double-digit performances to six games.

Next, Pride fans are circling Dec. 11 on their calendars because it’s when the team takes on No. 6 University of Kentucky at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

This is a game that Powers says his team is coming to win and get some payback.

“He’s a confident guy with some miles on his tires,” Mihalich said.

“He’s someone who makes the rest of his team better [by inspiring them] and inspires the rest of the guys.”

“I’m very confident in our team,” Powers said.

“I think what’s most special about us is our depth … we have so many great players that can step in any given night and show out.”

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