Nicole Powell is taking the next step in her basketball career by joining Kelly Graves’ staff at Gonzaga.
“She’s the complete package,” said Graves of Powell, whose resume includes high school, college and international success.
Powell, who turned 31 in June, is playing for the Tulsa Shock this summer, but began her career by being named the Arizona High School Player of the Century as well as being a WBCA All-American. Powell’s all-around athleticism was displayed in badminton (three state titles), the discus (state champion) and tennis (state runner-up in doubles).
Her college career at Stanford was equally successful, as she was Pac-10 Player of the Year twice and was AP first team All-American in 2004.
Powell was the third overall pick in the 2004 WNBA draft, and after a slow start, was named the league's Most Improved Player in 2005 while playing for the WNBA champion Sacramento Monarchs. In 2009, she converted 97.9% of her free throws and played in that year’s All-Star game.
She represented the United States in several international tournaments, and had plenty of success in Europe, but this winter, she’ll turn her attention to coaching Gonzaga, one of the most successful midmajor programs in the country.
The Zags made their sixth NCAA tournament appearance in the last seven years in 2012-13, and reached the Elite Eight in 2011 after starting out as a No. 11 seed.
Last year, Gonzaga finished 27-6 and reached the Sweet 16, where the Bulldogs lost to Iowa State. This year, Gonzaga will play at Stanford on Dec. 14, which will give Powell a familiar stop in her first season as a college coach.