Alabama eyes rising ESPN 100 PG

If you ask Rashawn Powell (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) he’ll tell you he’s got a little Russell Westbrook in his game. The ESPN 100 prospect and the Oklahoma City Thunder star both play the point, and both know to score when they need to.

“I like to get my team involved first, but if the team’s not hitting shots, that’s when I go ahead and do my own thing,” Powell said. “I’m still going to get the team involved, but sometimes I’ve got to focus on scoring to get my team to the win.”

When Powell’s AAU coach, Diane Neal, was watching Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night, she saw Westbrook make a move against the Miami Heat that was reminiscent of her own point guard. She even texted Powell’s father to let him know.

“I watched Russell Westbrook last night; he and Rashawn make almost every move to the basket the same,” Neal said. “I saw him go to the basket, switch to his left hand in midair, and that’s like one of Rashawn’s best moves. That’s one of his fabulous moves that he makes on the court.”

Point guards who can score have become the growing trend recently in both high school and college basketball. Whether it be driving to the basket or knocking it down from long range, they can put the ball in the hoop. Powell, a 6-foot, 170-pound dynamo, has that ability.

“He’s able to score in various ways,” Neal said. “He’s like a general on the floor that makes good decisions, makes all the right decisions on the court. But if you tell him he’s got to score the ball, he just knows how to score it.”

This spring, he’s put his talents on full display, playing AAU ball for the Florida Assault, and college coaches are beginning to take notice.

He’s recently picked up offers from Cincinnati and Penn State to add to a growing list that also includes Massachusetts, Memphis, Miami, Mississippi State, Murray State, Seton Hall, UCF and Virginia Tech.

Alabama, whose 2013 class is No. 8 in the initial rankings, could be the next to offer. The UA coaching staff has been in contact with Powell recently but wants to wait until the July evaluation period before extending a scholarship offer.

“I was just on the phone with them last week,” Powell said. “They were talking to me, showing interest and trying to get me up there for a visit on campus. I think they want me to come to camp the beginning of August. I’m going to go and check that out.”

If the Crimson Tide do offer, they could be a school that piques Powell’s interest and move up on his list.

“I’ve got interest in them,” he said. “I like the coaching staff and the style of play. They’ve got a good style of play, transition. They’re an up-tempo team, and I like running up and down. I’m good with that.”

Powell takes a break from AAU in June, but the Florida native is expected to go up to Chicago at the end of the month to participate in the Deron Williams Skills Academy, an event featuring the nation’s top point guards.

He will head back to the court in July, where he hopes to improve his game and pick up more offers.

“When the July period hits, I’m going to go every game, ball out and just hope I get better.”