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All-american, UNC commit Drake Powell shines on Senior Night

Feb. 14—PITTSBORO — On Tuesday, the five-star recruit, Northwood High School all-American and University of North Carolina commit Drake Powell put on a show for his home crowd for senior night, beating the Chatham Central Bears 69-48.

"It was good, having the whole community coming out to support us. I'm glad I got to spend it with my guys," said Powell.

Powell dropped 14 points, including a monster jam in the second half to propel his team to their eighth win in a row. While his final point tally does not jump out of the box score, Powell prided himself on making the right play on both ends of the floor. The senior finished with the lion's share of his team's assists, in addition to his contributions on the glass.

"I'm just trying to build their confidence heading into playoffs," said Powell. "I think them being confident with themselves is the biggest thing."

The hype for Powell is real. He committed to Carolina in September 2022 and is currently ranked 13th on ESPN's Top 100.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing for a coach — it's pretty cool," said Northwood head coach Matt Brown.

But the 6-foot-5 phenom was not alone out there. His fellow senior, Jake Leighton, outscored Powell with 15 points including four shots from outside, and Powell was insistent on making the right read and finding the open guy.

"That's his game," said Chargers head coach Matt Brown on Powell's unselfishness.

"He can shoot 30, 40 times — but that's not his game. He wants to get his teammates involved, and make the right play, and that's why he's so unique. He's the greatest player I've ever coached," said Brown, who is 13 years into his head coaching career.

Powell had plenty of options with the shooting provided from fellow seniors Leighton and Fred Whitaker Jr., and Powell hit his shooters in a variety of different ways, from no-look dimes to underhand scoops.

The bout against Chatham Central was supposed to be the Chargers' final of the season, but a rescheduled game on Valentine's Day against North Moore will be the official season finale. Northwood is currently ranked no. 7 in the state headed into the NCISAA playoffs, according to High School OT's Top 25.

Accompanied by his brother, Deuce, his sister Cera, and his mom and dad: Cherice and Dedric Powell, Drake posed for a pregame picture with his family to celebrate a successful high school career. After four years at Northwood, Powell is excited and grateful for a chance to compete with his teammates for a state title before joining Hubert Davis as a Tar Heels shooting guard next year.

"I think it's great, because we all grew up together, we are all familiar with each other, and we enjoy being around each other," said Powell.

A Carolina native, Powell attended Woods Charter school in Chapel Hill in his early years before attending Northwood. A house full of athletes, his sister, Cera, was one of the best volleyball players in the nation, leading her team in kills at Virginia Tech. His brother, Deuce, was always quite the ball player himself.

"I've always said if Deuce was his height, he'd be playing D-1 basketball," said Brown who coached the two brothers.

Drake Powell will be extending the Tar Heel family legacy, as his father, Dedric, played baseball at UNC back in 1989.

"Just meeting new people, developing my skills, and embracing the community," said Powell.