it’s a done deal: Another talented star player committed to the UNC just….

Following the tradition of his parents, Powell is making the short drive from Pittsboro, North Carolina, to UNC’s campus to enroll as the second-highest ranked freshman in Hubert Davis’ three-year tenure. Despite the proximity, the 6-foot-6, 196-pound wing remains excited about the opportunities ahead.

“My sister Cera, who played volleyball at Virginia Tech and UConn, and my cousin have been very supportive,” Powell shared with Inside Carolina. “Everything is happening quickly, but I feel prepared. I have a lot of people to talk to who have been through this and they all advise me to be ready and work hard. I’m looking forward to the full college experience.”

Powell’s commitment to UNC wasn’t a major surprise, marking a pivotal moment in his high school career. Despite a modest national ranking initially, his performance during the 2022 AAU season earned him an offer from Davis, and he committed on August 21, 2022, over offers from Florida State, LSU, Miami, N.C. State, Tennessee, and UCLA, among others.

Over the next 20 months, Powell’s skills developed significantly, elevating his ranking from the top 50 to the top five in the class of 2024. Despite national interest and offers from prep schools, he chose to stay at Pittsboro (N.C.) Northwood for his senior year, where he delivered an unforgettable season, averaging 17.7 points (57% FG, 41% 3pt, 82% FT), 8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block per game, often sitting out the fourth quarters.

Reflecting on his decision, Powell said, “Staying was the right choice. Although we didn’t win the state championship, maintaining relationships with my teammates and the Pittsboro community was important. I’m glad younger people can look up to me and see that you can achieve your goals at home.”

While public high school competition in North Carolina is less intense than leagues like Nike’s EYBL, Powell feels confident, crediting his coaches for pushing him hard. High school evaluators agreed, as Powell received invitations to the Iverson and Josh Level classics, and the Jordan and McDonald’s All-American games, where his teams went 4-0.

“The McDonald’s scrimmages and practices were very competitive,” Powell said. “I enjoy those environments. We’re all friends and respect each other on the court. Through all the events, I felt I showed all aspects of my game.”

Powell saw the most growth in his confidence during his senior season. “I believe I can continue playing at a high level, even in ACC ball,” he said. “I’m starting to see plays develop before they happen and I’m physically stronger.”

He tested his newfound confidence in Los Angeles, training with former UCLA player Don McLean and Proactive Sports Performance founder Ryan Capretta, alongside pre-draft and college players, invited by Chris Paul.

Powell, a regular visitor to the Smith Center last season, often communicates with the Carolina staff about life outside basketball. “They ask about my free time, school, and family. There’s not much basketball talk.”

As a freshman, Powell aims to “impact winning” and anticipates playing at the ‘3’ and ‘2,’ though his exact role is yet to be defined by the UNC staff. He has chosen to wear jersey number 9, inspired by his cousin’s mention that Dwyane Wade wore it during the Olympics, and he believes no one has worn it at UNC before.

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