On Saturday Hampton clinched an automatic bid with a 21-points win over Delaware State in the MEAC tourney title game. The Hornets swept the Pirates twice in February but lost the match-up that counted to give Hampton its 1st tourney berth since 2011. Earlier today Jon Teitel got to speak with Deron Powers about making the NCAA tourney despite having a losing record.
In 2013 you were named conference ROY: how were you able to come in and contribute right from the start? The team as a whole allowed me to come in and just play my game: our chemistry clicked very early that year.
In the 2014 CBI you scored 19 points (8-12 FG) in a 4-point loss to Penn State: what is the biggest difference between the regular season and the postseason? Even though we did not win the MEAC tourney that year we knew we had to play better: everyone tries to take it to another level because every game counts.
You had a pair of road losses to Iowa and North Dakota State back in November: what did you learn from playing those two tourney teams that you think can help you this week? It was definitely a learning experience, but we learned a lot more from the past four games because we finally clicked and learned how to play together.
You had a record of 12-17 last week before winning four straight games in the conference tourney: how was your team able to turn things around? I do not know exactly how to explain it but even before the conference tourney I could feel us coming together and starting to gel.
You are one of the best free throw shooters in MEAC history: what is your secret to making free throws? I do not think there is a secret: I have always been able to shoot them well because I am confident that I am going to make them. You just have to believe in yourself.
You have finished in the top-5 in the conference in assists for each of the past three years: what is the key to being a good point guard? It is important to dribble with your head up so that you can see the open man. It also helps to be surrounded by good shooters and some big men who can finish around the rim.
You scored 16 points on Saturday in a win over Delaware State: how were you able to win the title despite having a losing record, and what was the reaction like when you got back to campus? We lost to both them and Norfolk State twice this year so it felt good to finally beat each of them. I think we were more prepared and were not listening as much to the hype as others were. I have not been back to campus yet but heard it has gotten pretty crazy!
You were named conference tourney MVP: what did it mean to you receive such an outstanding honor? It is humbling…but I still have not realized that it actually happened. I am looking at the championship hat sitting on my table and it is hard to believe. I had a goal of winning a title since my freshman year so it is both a relief and a dream come true.
You play for Coach Ed Joyner: what makes him such a good coach, and what is the most important thing you ever learned from him? He allows us to be ourselves. Certain programs ask you to fit into their style of play, but Coach Joyner allows us all to play our game, which then makes the system.
What kind of seed do you think you deserve, and what kind of seed do you think you will get? I think we are going to get a 16 seed due to our record this year, but I am just happy to be in the NCAA tourney.