FAYETTEVILLE — Forward Marshawn Powell has decided that four years in an Arkansas uniform is long enough.
The redshirt junior revealed his plans to enter the 2013 NBA Draft from his Twitter account on Tuesday, adding “thank God for even being in this position.”
Powell successfully returned from a knee injury that sidelined for most of the 2011-12 season to finish second on the team in scoring (14.5 points a game) and first in rebounding (5.3) in 2012-13. He also shot 49.3 percent from the field, which ranked third in the Southeastern Conference, and made a career-high 27 3-pointers.
“I wish Marshawn all the best as he moves on to the next stage of his basketball career,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said in a news release. “He had a tremendous junior season after recovering from a knee injury and was a big part of the success that we had this season. He is a skilled forward who can stretch the defense because of his ability to shoot. He can also create by putting it on the floor and has a nice post up game. I feel that his best basketball is in front of him.”
Powell’s decision is not much of a surprise even though the Virginia native is not included on most mock drafts. The 23-year-old will try to begin a professional basketball career after an Arkansas run with plenty of highs and lows, including a long list of injuries (broken hand, broken foot, torn anterior cruciate ligament).
Powell still could withdraw his name from the 2013 NBA Draft pool before the April 16 deadline because he has not hired an agent. But Powell isn’t expected to remove his name from the draft pool and return to the Razorbacks.
Powell’s departure leaves Arkansas without its most consistent frontcourt scorer for 2013-14. He ranks 22nd on the school’s career scoring chart and became the 35th Arkansas player to notch 1,000 or more career points earlier this season.
Powell also is one of just five Razorback players to tally at least 1,000 points, 450 rebounds, 100 assists and 75 blocked shots in his career. The other four were former Razorbacks Todd Day, Scott Hastings, Ron Huery and Corliss Williamson.
But Powell does enter the draft without accomplishing one thing: The Razorbacks never earned an NCAA Tournament or NIT berth during his four seasons on campus.
Leading Arkansas into the postseason was his goal earlier this month, when he was asked about the future before the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
“Everybody asks me about it. Am I coming back or not?” Powell said at the time. “I’m just not really thinking about it to be honest. If you ask me in a couple weeks, I’ll probably tell you something. But I’m not really thinking about it. We’ve got to get a win. I’m still trying to do something I haven’t done here ever.”
Arkansas intends to accomplish it next season and should have plenty of frontcourt depth to work with even if Powell leaves his name in the draft.
Coty Clarke (7.6 points, 5.2 rebounds) and Hunter Mickelson (5.4 points, 3.5 rebounds) are eligible to return next season. The Razorbacks also signed two frontcourt players in 6-foot-9 Bobby Portis, a McDonald’s All-American and the Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year, and 6-9 Moses Kingsley.
Alandise Harris is available to help the Razorbacks as well after sitting out the 2012-13 season because of NCAA transfer rules. Anderson said last week Harris should bring toughness to Arkansas’ frontcourt after showing glimpses in practices.
“What Alandise gave us (in practice) was a guy that could bang and push and shove with Marshawn,” Anderson said. “That’s the thing I liked seeing. He’s a guy that rebounds the basketball. He’s just got a knack for the basketball. There are some guys that have a nose for the ball, and he’s one of those guys.”
Powell is the first Razorback to announce his plans to enter the 2013 NBA Draft, but may not be the last. Guard BJ Young – who entered the draft after his freshman season and withdrew his name from consideration to return to the Razorbacks — has not revealed whether he’ll be back at Arkansas for his junior season.
The NBA Draft early entry deadline is April 28.
Young led the Razorbacks and ranked fifth in the SEC in scoring (15.2 points). He and Powell were named second-team All-SEC selections by the league’s coaches earlier this month and also received Associated Press honorable mention honors.