Air Roger

<p>Going into this season the Illinois Fighting Illini knew they were strong on guard play. What they didn't know is that one of their juniors was ready for take off.

Roger Powell has emerged this year as a valuable weapon on the offensive end. After 3 games, Powell is 2nd on the team in both points and rebounds per game. Roger already has 13 offensive rebounds on the year. I must admit, I underestimated Powell's role on this years team. It started at the end of last year with Powell basically disappearing in the NCAA tournament. Just before the NCAA's, Roger had led the Illini to a Big Ten Tournament Championship. Roger was firing on all cylinders. The Illini nation knew that for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament that someone besides Brian Cook would have to carry them. They thought it would be Roger Powell. Powell was a complete disappointment. I should have known Powell would bounce back. True warriors always do.

The way Powell attacks the rim could be described as ferocious. He always plays hard and always seems to be in the right spot for the offensive rebounds. Powell also sparks his team with powerful dunks. The biggest problem with Roger Powell has been his inconsistent outside shot and his defense. Powell is 6'6 but his best position is power forward. He doesn't have the offensive arsenal to be a true small forward and he's not quick enough to guard them on the perimeter. So far Roger has more than made up for these weaknesses in his game. The Illini will need Roger Powell to be option number 2 or 3 this year. The focus will always be on the Dee & Deron show. If Powell can keep going to the boards and doing all the dirty work, he'll be greatly rewarded by the fans and by the coaches. If Illinois is to go far this year in the NCAA's, Roger Powell will need to show up.

Powell ready for UNC Tuesday

Roger grabs a rebound AP photos

Illini Inquirer Top Stories