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December 2, 2009 > Newark Memorial hoops star to attend Denver

Newark Memorial hoops star to attend Denver

By Gary van den Heuvel
Photos By William Mancebo

Newark Memorial High School senior point guard Chaunise Powell made official her decision to attend the University of Denver, signing the letter of intent at a ceremony on the Newark campus on November 23.

The college selection process wasn't an easy one at first for Chaunise. Her older sister Donnise had gone through a similar process last year, and chose to attend Iowa State because of a feeling inside that Iowa State was the place for her. Chaunise had visited a few campuses, but she didn't get the feeling that any of those places were where she was meant to go.

"But then I visited Denver, and I got the feeling - I knew it was the place for me," Powell said. "I loved the city, the coaching staff, my Pioneer teammates, the incoming freshmen. I told my dad to buy a Denver jacket because I'm coming here."

Chaunise transferred to Newark from Moreau Catholic after her freshman year. The 5-foot-6 Powell is a two-time MVAL All-League First Team guard, and last year she helped lead the team to an MVAL crown. She was the team leader in scoring (16.3 points per game), rebounds (11.2 per game), assists (3.6) and steals (3.7), and was named the team's Co-MVP.

"Chaunise is a student-athlete of solid character on and off the court," said Newark Coach Darryl Reina. "She's a leader, with a strong work ethic, a player who makes her teammates better, and has the amazing knack of being at her best when it matters the most."

Having just begun her final high school basketball season, Powell has a mission for herself and her team: "Knowing it will be my last year, my focus is not on me. My goal is to help those around me become better," she said. "I'm anticipating a great season. Going in, I feel like we're the underdogs. But so many of us were there last year, and we may not have been the biggest, strongest, fastest team, but we willed ourselves to win our league and make it to NCS, and I feel that's what we're going to end up doing again."

Powell has set a personal goal of leading the league in scoring, assists, rebounds and steals.

Chaunise started playing organized basketball in fourth grade as the first girl to play on an all-boys team at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church. From a very young age, she knew she loved the game, and considers her ability to be a God-given talent. She describes herself as a "naturally athletic person," and has also competed in volleyball and track and field.

In college, Chaunise plans to study computer science as well as computer engineering, possibly majoring in one with a minor in the other. After college, she wants to play basketball overseas for a few years, and then possibly the WNBA. And after that, Chaunise wants to work building and programming computers.

But no matter where she goes in life, Powell remains grounded to her roots, which she'll never forget.

"I want to personally thank my family, friends, coaches, teammates and community for all the support and opportunities they have provided for me," said Powell. "And I will never forget who I am or where I come from as I journey through my life from this point on."

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