IMG Academy basketball program's Dwight Powell was recently selected to play in the Kentucky Derby Festival, a national all-star game for the top high school basketball players in the country. The event, to take place Saturday, April 10 at Freedom Hall in Louisville, KY, will include 22 players, all of whom are ranked in the top 75 recruits in the nation by Rivals.com. Powell is the fourth player out of the IMG Academy basketball program to be selected to the event, joining the likes of IMG alums and previous participants Jared Swopshire (Louisville), Kenny Kadji (University of Florida), and Kyryl Natyazhko (Arizona).
"All of the players I looked up to were selected in previous years so its nice to also be selected, represent my school, and follow in their footsteps," said Powell. "I'm going in with an open mind and trying to take the most out of this experience that I possibly can, and just have a great time while I'm there."
Along with Powell, coach Vince Walden will coach the team for the second straight year, one of only two to coach in the Derby back-to-back years. Walden spoke highly of Powell in a recent interview:
"Dwight is one of those special players who bought into the program from day one. He's been with us for three years and we've seen him grow every single year. He's had setbacks and frustrations, just like any player when it comes to their development and trying to achieve the level of ability that the individual may want, but his desire to become the best player that he can be has always trumped any frustration or setback with injury, or anything that might have come up to get in his way."
Walden continued, "He's a focused, determined young man who puts value in the right places; in academics he's always put forth great effort, which is a testament to him going to Stanford. I think with him being selected to the Kentucky Derby Festival says a lot, not only about the caliber of player he is, but more than anything the people at the Derby will be graced by a young man that we've had the pleasure of having on our campus for three years."
For more information on the 2010 Kentucky Derby Festival, including full rosters, click here.