Powell on Becoming a Bruin

The athletic freshman guard, Norman Powell, talks about learning the ropes of the program...

Freshman Norman Powell talked to us at Media Day on Wednesday.

Q: Wearing the UCLA uniform for the first time, I'm sure you've been dreaming about this.

A: Oh yeah, putting on the uniform the first time, even though it's only for taking pictures, even though it's not for a game, it feels really good because I feel like I'm part of these team finally. Being here for the summer and working out, I knew I was part of the Bruin family but actually being with the team and seeing us all in the jerseys has me really feeling good.

Q: You've been on campus since the summer. How's everything going for you?

A: It's going really good. I'm getting acclimated to the college life and dorm living, classes, everything like that. It's going pretty well. I got good grades in the summer, so it really led me to this fall quarter.

Q: What led you to committing to UCLA?

A: UCLA was really the school that stuck with me through my family problems. My uncle passed away back in summer of my junior year and UCLA still was recruiting me when I was playing bad and everything like that, and I felt like they actually wanted me for more than just my skills. Like they actually wanted to develop me and get me better. They showed me that it was more than basketball.

Q: So coming into this season, what are your expectations in terms of minutes and impact on the team?

A: Yeah, I mean, my expectations coming in as a freshman is really just to fill my role, whatever the coach needs me to do. Come in and hit a big shot, come in and lock down one of the best players on the other team, that's what I'm going to do. Play defense and do the little things that will develop my game for the next level. Talking to coach Howland, he has high expectations for me. He's giving me the opportunity to come in and prove myself. I'm just going to take it one day at a time and build trust with him so he knows that whatever he needs me to do I'm going to do it.

Q: Does he have you slated at any particular spot, the two or three?

A: Right now, a little bit of both. 2 guard, 1 guard, whatever he needs me to do. Combo pretty much, playing like Russell Westbrook.

Q: One of the biggest losses was Malcolm Lee and his defensive ability. Do you think you can help make up for that slack?

A: I feel that if I come in and work hard enough and learn the little things on defense like Malcolm Lee did, I'll be able to fill that role as a defensive stopper for this team. Malcolm's actually really helped me, during the summer when he came back onto campus, just telling me the little stuff about how to use your team to help you play defense. How to get over screens and things like that because that was what he was known for here. So talking to him and playing with him, I fee like my defense has really picked up.

Q: How'd you do playing against the NBA guys?

A: It went really well. It was an experience because I used to watch guys like O.J. Mayo, Nick Young, Javale McGee, all of them on TV, so the first day I walked in here and saw all of them here, it was like a shock to me. These guys I looked up to and now I had the chance to play with them.

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