Former Gamecock Carlos Powell taking over Midlands powerhouse basketball program

Carlos Powell is coming back to the Midlands.

The former South Carolina basketball great and Wilson High coach has accepted the head boys basketball coach position at Gray Collegiate Academy in West Columbia, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. A press conference to introduce Gray Collegiate’s new basketball coach is set for Monday at 12’;30 p.m. Powell replaces Dion Bethea, who resigned to take an assistant coaching position in college at Division I Georgia Southern.

Powell announced his resignation on X (formerly known as Twitter) on Saturday told his Wilson team of his decision Friday afternoon.

Powell was the War Eagles top candidate the school move quickly after Bethea officially announced his resignation on Monday.

Powell will be the second coach in program history and look to continue the War Eagles tradition. Gray Collegiate won six Class 2A championships under Bethea.

The War Eagles will be moving up to Class 4A next season because of the South Carolina High School League’s realignment.

This is Powell’s second head coaching job. He was the head coach at his alma mater Wilson for the last four years and led the Tigers to the 2022 Class 4A state title in his second season. Wilson defeated AC Flora, 52-43, for the Tigers’ second state championship in program history.

“A lot of people don’t know the amount of work that we put in to get where we are today,” Powell said after the game. “Just to win a state championship after going through such hard times and hearing all the little things. It is refreshing. What can they say now?”

Powell went 74-20 in his four seasons with three straight 20-plus win seasons. His first year, 2020-21 was limited to just seven games because of COVID.

Powell is leaving a Wilson team that has Tristan Thompson, one of the top seniors in SC for the 2025 class and rising sophomore Josh Leonard, one of the top ranked prospects in the country for 2027.

Before Wilson, Powell was an assistant coach at Ridge View and part of the Blazers’ 2020 state championship team.

Powell got into coaching after a successful high school, college and professional career. At USC, Powell was known for his energetic play on the floor and was an all-SEC selection and the 2005 MVP for the NIT tournament. He finished his career with 1,541 points, 641 rebounds in 132 games and is the eighth leading scorer in school history. After college, Powell had stints on NBA training camp rosters with Phoenix and Golden State.

Powell played overseas for more than a decade with stops in Israel, Iran, New Zealand, South Korea and Venezuela. He also played in the NBA D-League and Continental Basketball Association.