Leon Powe's Production is Not That Suprising: He's Always Had the Talent

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IMarch 14, 2009

Leon Powe has just had the best regular season game in the NBA against the Memphis Grizzlies. In the game Powe had 30 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, one steal, five blocked shots, he went 10-14 from the field, and 10-14 from the free throw line.

For anyone following the NBA would consider this a pleasant surprise for the Celtics, with that kind of production by Powe.

The problem is that Powe has always had the ability to score and his defense has improved tremendously since he was drafted out of the University of California. What most NBA fans and experts forget is that Powe was ranked No. 10 in terms of recruits in 2003 and to some experts he was actually the No. 2 recruit.

He was recruited out Oakland Tech and he was recruited highly by Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Arizona, and UNLV, but he eventually chose to play close to home at the University of California. Powe was the best player Cal has had since Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

Out of the top 10 that included LeBron James, Luol Deng, Shannon Brown, Ndudi Ebi, Charlie Villanueva, Kendrick Perkins, David Padgett, James Lang, and Brian Butch, Powe had a better college career then all of them.

Although, he would drop down to number two if James had actually played in college but James jumped straight to the NBA.

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During the time at Cal, Powe dominated inlcuding winning Pac-10 freshman of the year and was included on the all-pac 10 team.

In his freshman year of 2003-2004, Powe averaged 15.1 points per game, 9.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 48 percent from the floor and 61 percent from the freethrow line.

Unfortunately for Powe he had to have knee surgery from an injury that occured in high school which required him to have major reconstructive knee surgery and that caused him to miss the entire 2004-2005 season.

Returned from the surgery for the 2005-2006. During the time he was out there were questions if Powe could return to the form that he had once shown while at Cal. Well those questions were answered with the season he had.

Powe averaged 20.5 points per game and 10.1 rebounds and shot 49.6 from the field, 33 percent from beyond the arc, and 71 percent from the free throw line. Earning All Pac-10 honors for the second time at Cal and 2nd team all-american.

The reason why Powe was not taken in the first round of the draft was due to his injury history because even though he had surgery that had him missed the 2004-2005 season he also had to have reconstructive surgery on the other knee in high school.

He also missed some time in the 2005-2006 at the start of the season due to a stress fracture in his foot.

During that time though Powe developed a mid range jumper as well and it made him much more effective because he could always score in the post. So, the teams in the Pac-10 had an even tougher time with Powe.

Also, Powe has always been a physical specimen. He was known for being able to overpower his defenders being at 6'8" and 240 pounds, but what makes him tough is that he has a wing span of 7'2".

It's always understandable when a college player suffers major injuries to question how they will perform as a professional, but sometimes it's better too look at the work ethic of the player.

It's the same thing that happened to Frank Gore. Gore had two major knee injuries at the University of Miami and teams were scared to draft him due to that. The 49ers took him in the third round and he's become one of the elite running backs in the league.

With Powe it's the same kind of work ethic that makes him so good. So, when Powe produces it's not all that surprising because he's always had that ability to be an outsanding player in both college and in the NBA.

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