November 4, 2011

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Knighthawks Rookie Powless Impresses at Hawaii Invitational

from press release

He is "as advertised and better." Those were the words Rochester Knighthawk Jarrett Davis used to describe the play of 18-year-old rookie Johnny Powless at the Hawaii Invitational Lacrosse Tournament.

"I can't wait to play with him," said Davis about teaming up with his fellow forward during the 2012 National Lacrosse League season.

Powless was drafted with the fifth pick overall in this September's NLL Entry Draft, who was acquired from Calgary in a draft day trade that sent Shawn Evans and a first rounder in the 2012 draft to the Roughnecks. Some saw the trade as a hefty price to pay for the youngster, but the latest reports have the kid creating fans every time he steps on the field.

Powless has made headlines with his incredible two-year run in junior lacrosse, amassing 111 goals and 69 assists for 180 points in just 43 games. This summer, he won the Gaylord Powless Award as the Junior "A" Most Sportsmanlike Player. Powless led junior lacrosse in scoring with 65 goals and was fourth with 102 points. Last year, the forward from Six Nations won the Joe Nieuwendyk Award as the 2010 Junior "A" Rookie of the Year.

"It feels pretty good," said Powless on draft day. "I am excited to play with the Knighthawks."

That day will come soon enough with Training Camp starting on November 19th and the preseason schedule beginning on Sunday, December 11th against Philadelphia. He will make his home debut on Saturday, December 17th in a home preseason contest against the Minnesota Swarm. Cody Jamieson gave fans a preview of what to expect.

"He is an exciting young player that is not afraid to score goals," said Jamieson, a 2011 All-Rookie team selection. "He can really put the ball in the net. He will be good for a very long time."

Those in Hawaii last week got their first glimpses of the young goal scorer from Six Nations. In his Hawaii Tournament debut, he scored five goals and added two assists for The Dirty Lacrosse Club in a "friendly" against the Samurai from Group A. He left his teammates talking after his tournament debut.

"They said this kid is for real," said Dirty Lax President and Knighthawks Scout Jason Donville. "He is so effortless and he is six or seven years younger than everyone else."

In the Finals, Powless scored one of the four goals for Dirty Lax as they dropped a hard-fought 5-4 decision to the defending champion Wimmer Solutions. The game was a measuring stick for the rookie, as he went up against lacrosse stars like Gary Gait, John Galloway, Brett Queener, Max Seibald, Mike Evans, Kyle Hartzell, Anthony Kelly and Garrett Billings.

"It was a good experience for me to play against pro players," said Powless.

Powless also had the opportunity to play on a team that included young guns from the NLL and Major League Lacrosse. The Dirty Lacrosse Club featured No. 1 pick Kevin Crowley, Curtis Dickson, Kyle Rubisch, Jeremy Thompson, and Knighthawks Stephen Keogh and Davis.

"It was awesome to be surrounded by such talent. It was easy to play with these guys," said Powless. "It was good to play with (Davis and Keogh) and get to know each other."

The Knighthawks teammates bonded over trips to places like the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor and Diamond Head Mountain. Boogie boarding and surfing excursions also filled his schedule during his week in Honolulu.

His next lacrosse heavy schedule with his new teammates will take him into January and the start of his first professional season. The Knighthawks will open the season at Philadelphia against the Wings on Saturday, January 14th before returning home for an encounter with the Buffalo Bandits on Saturday, January 21st. Powless cannot wait to get the season underway.

"I am very excited," said Powless. "I am counting down the days on the calendar."


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