Beech senior Kaleb Powell has endured his fair share of adversity during this season.
That said, a minor setback was never going to get in the way of No. 11 returning to the court for the Buccaneers.
After suffering a knee injury in practice, Powell missed 12 games to start the 2020-21 season before coming back on December 28 against Centennial in the Father Ryan Christmas Tournament.
His head coach, Kip Brown, says that Kaleb was as consistent cheering on his teammates as he is scoring buckets.
“Kaleb is one of the best players I’ve ever coached, one of the most complete players both on and off the court, and I knew it would be hard on him because he loves the game so much, is a great team guy, but I also knew he would handle the injury well. He was always there, still a leader and always cheered us on. We were all anxiously awaiting for him to come back and play.”
The Buccaneers finished the regular season as District 9-AAA champions, despite Powell missing most of the Bucs' district games, but with Powell back in the lineup, aspirations of a late February run are higher than ever before.
“He is a winner for one,” Brown said. “He is so talented and gives us another guy that teams have to worry about. Last season we had good players around him, but those good players have turned into excellent players this year. He is a guy that can do it all. He has a high basketball IQ.”
After suffering his knee injury, Powell was unsure if he would become only the school’s ninth boys player in school history to score 1,000 points.
Needing 10 points against Father Ryan on Feb. 9, Powell found room at the rim on a backdoor cut from Andrew Paige to get him his accomplishment.
“The injury was tough because coming into the year; I knew this would be my breakout year,” Powell said. “I wasn’t sure how long I would be out, then I tweaked it after I got back. It’s been hard, but to still get that accomplishment means a lot.”
Kip Brown says he wanted the accomplishment for Kaleb more than Powell wanted it for himself.
“He is just so deserving of this accomplishment,” Brown said. “He is up there amongst the best to ever put on a Beech uniform. I think whoever lands him at the next level will be very happy.”
Powell adds that he relied on his faith to get him through the challenging moments.
“I know God has a plan, and it would work out one way or another,” he said.
As for what is ahead for Powell following his time on the hardwood for Beech, he will return to the diamond for his senior campaign, where he hopes to find a spot in the Buccaneers rotation.
“I may end up being just a bench warmer, but that’s fine with me,” he laughed. “I played my freshman year but then decided to play AAU ball my sophomore and junior season; I’m excited to get back out there.”