Tennessee transfers Justin Powell has committed to Washington State, according to a report by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. Powell played in 30 games this past season for the Volunteers, but he averaged just 14.1 minutes of playing time per game. Powell averaged 3.7 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.7 assists. He shot 38.1% from 3-point range and 73.3% from the charity stripe.
“We saw Justin at times do really good things,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said in April. “Consistency every day is what it’s going to be. He does a lot of things well and what he’s going to have to do, which he does now, is taking what he does well and become great with it. We’re excited about what he can bring because he showed times this year that he can really make a difference.”
Powell played at Auburn in 2020-21 and got off to a red-hot start. He averaged 11.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 10 games for the Tigers. Powell splashed 44.2% of his 3-pointers. He torched Memphis for 26 points on Dec. 12, 2020. But concussions completely derailed Powell, and he transferred to Tennessee after the season.
But Washington State presents a new opportunity with loads of upside. Washington State lost a ton of talented guards like Michael Flowers, Tyrell Roberts, Noah Williams and others. Powell has a wide-open path to an enormous role at Washington State.
“I was looking for opportunity,” Powell told Givony. “Going somewhere I can have the ball in my hands and showcase what I can do like I did my first year in college. Playing in an NBA offense in terms of pick-and-roll concepts and spacing was important. Washington State led the Pac -12 in 3-pointers attempted and they had several departures in the backcourt, which left a big void there that I can hopefully step into. I’m going into it with the mindset of working hard and everything will work out. I’ll try to be a good leader and hopefully help the team make it to the NCAA tournament.”
Powell will have to apply for a waiver to be immediately eligible to play because it’s the second transfer of his career.
The NCAA introduced the transfer portal Oct. 15, 2018, providing athletes a path to explore their options. Players do not need to ask permission from their coaching staff in order to transfer. There were 2,646 FBS players to enter the transfer portal during the 2020-21 transfer cycle, sources said. That was up from 1,692 in 2019-20 and 1,717 in 2018-19.
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Powell was a three-star recruit and the No. 31 shooting guard in the Class of 2020, according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite rankings.
Austin Nivison contributed to this report.