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Arkansas’ Marshawn Powell returns to action

Marshawn Powell

Arkansas’ leading scorer Marshawn Powell looks on from the sideline with a knee injury during an NCAA college basketball game against Houston, on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, in North Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Brian Chilson)


Arkansas got some great news this week as Marshawn Powell was cleared to play with them on their trip to Italy this month.

How much time he will get is unclear. Powell is still 15 pounds heavy, according to, and has obviously not yet gotten into game shape -- or practice shape, for that matter -- but that will come with time. What is important is that Powell, who averaged 19.5 points in the two games he played in last season and who was the Razorback’s best player before he was hurt, will be in the lineup.

“It is going to be real fun,” Powell told the site. “I have played a couple of pick-up games, but I didn’t play that many. It has just been totally practice structured for me since I have been back. It is going to be nice to see what I can do.”

You see, the Razorbacks return the majority of a roster that was almost all freshmen and sophomores with a coach that is now in just his second year with the program. And they did pretty well last year with that group, going 18-14 and keeping their name in at-large contention until early February, when they were hit with a disastrous stretch to end the season.

Powell played two games with that group last season. While he’ll be one of the most talented -- and probably the most experienced -- player on the roster, he’s still going to end up being the new guy. Getting a chance to practice with his team and play with them against real competition will only help in the long run.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.