HOOPS RECRUITING: Billy D Strikes Again!

Billy Donovan and company have struck again with the newest Florida commitment to the Gators basketball team. Memphis (TN) Mitchell Road shooting guard Brandon Powell gave his verbal commitment to Donovan on Wednesday, joining Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military Academy senior power forward Marreese Speights as early commitments for the 2006 signing class.

(Brandon Powell profile)

Donovan was able to go straight into the heart of big-time basketball country and come away with one of the more sought after players in the area. What makes this commitment so interesting is that long before Billy D knew about Powell, Powell had his eye on the Gators.

"I've been always been interested in Florida from watching Jason Williams and Mike Miller," Powell said Wednesday night. "Then I started watching Anthony Roberson and I liked their style of play. Coach Donovan is a cool coach and we have a good relationship. I think that is the school for me."

Donovan has a reputation as a big time recruiter who is relentless once he sets his sights on a player. This seemed to be the case with Powell.

"We used to talk when the AAU season was going on," Powell said. "Every time he had a chance to call he called me and we talked. He was at every game of my AAU season."

Wednesday was the big day to go ahead and pull the trigger on his commitment. Powell said everyone was more than happy with the decision.

"I told my coach and he called Coach Donovan," Powell said. "I talked to him and he was real happy. He thought it was the best fit for me. He wants me so we can get it done down there. He knows I am a good shooter. I chose them because I know Coach Donovan will work and push me to get where I can go."

For Gator fans that don't know about his game, Powell is said to be a deadly shooter. His size and athletic ability lend him to be a positive force on the defensive side of the ball too. At the Real Deal on the Hill Tournament in Fayetteville (AR) this spring, Scout.com analyst Dave Telep got to see first hand what he was capable of and the crowd of coaches that were following Powell.

"Brandon Powell off the Memphis team is a two guard who could be on the rise," Telep posted back in April. "His jumper is smooth and he's a nice player who's getting tagged by the high-majors. (He) was part of the Memphis Pump 'n Run team that captured the Real Deal on the Hill championship. His shot block on Greg Oden was one of the momentum changing events of the second half."

Powell knows his best assets are on the offensive side of the ball. This is something that the Gators need for a team that has recently lost a lot of offensive firepower.

"I would say I am more of a scorer," he said. "I like to run and gun the way Coach Donovan likes. My game is the way Florida plays: run and shoot. However it is I can get it done. I want the Florida fans to look at me as a player that can fit right in, I can come in and be an immediate impact player.

"I am an immediate impact shooter. I am going to make the open shot … the big time shot. My defense is good and improved. I can come in and shut the best players down."

Powell has a friendly connection to the Gators. Portland (TN) is home to Florida's All-SEC freshman Corey Brewer. Powell would love to imitate his success from year one at Florida.

"Yeah I talk to Corey Brewer … he is from Tennessee also," he said. "He is a cool dude. He went down there and is showing what Tennessee basketball is about."

Don't think this is the end of the road for Donovan and the Gators basketball team in regards to attacking Tennessee and Memphis in particular for big time talent. According to Powell, he is ready to help lead others to see the light in Gainesville.

"I want to tell the Florida fans to come in and support," he said. "We are going to get a Memphis, Tennessee to Florida dynasty going."

Fightin Gators Top Stories