This current freshman class, in North Carolina, has a chance to be special. Led by Robert Dillingham and Jayden Young, you have the likes of Tremayne Parker, Mekhi Grant, Aden Holloway, Jaden Curry, Tre Green and many others who are really taking North Carolina by storm. By all accounts, the 2023 class is trending toward being one of the deepest classes the Hoop State has seen in some time.
However, one player no one is talking about is one who lives in the state’s capital, playing high school ball right in the middle of the city. Jakel Powell’s name should be firmly cemented in the midst of the previously mentioned list of players.
Powell is a freshman at Neuse Christian School, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Neuse Christian is a small 1A private school, having only 290 students k-12, who does have a history of producing talent. The likes of Terry Henderson (NC State), Dondre Griffin (Hampton), DJ Myers (Western Carolina), Kaleb Hunter (UNCG), etc…all played there within the past ten years.
Back to Powell, who is he, what does he do? Those are all the questions that need to be answered. Right now, Powell is a 6’4” shooting guard, who is being asked to play the point guard position right now for this young Neuse Christian team. Only 15 years old, carrying a 6’7” wingspan, Powell has taken well to the task at hand as he is averaging 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game to this point. However, his success should come as no surprise as basketball runs in his family.
Powell’s sister Dazia Powell signed with North Carolina out of high school. At Millbrook, over her final two seasons, the 5’10” guard led her team to a 58-6 record, a state championship all the while she averaged just over 13 points per game. With all-conference and all-state honors in hand, Dazia Powell was able to parlay her prep success, as we mentioned before, to a collegiate basketball career, now at UNC Wilmington.
Next up in the Powell family will be Jakel. Already standing 6’4”, he is a skinny 15-year-old freshman. But he doesn’t play like that. He has poise, he has the skill, but it may be his shooting ability that is really the most eye-opening part of his game. This season, while averaging 16 points per game, he is shooting 49% from the field, 40% from 3 and 81% from the free-throw line. His long arms and narrow shoulders give a clean, high release and his handle gets him a lot of open looks. While he is tasked with initiating the offense for this current team, long term he is an off the ball guard, who will have some secondary initiation skills.
Now with any freshman, there is a lot of time between what they are now and what they will become as basketball players. However, this one has all the ingredients to buy heavy on, now. And don’t be surprised, if in two years from now, you hear Jakel Powell’s name mentioned in the same breath as some of the names listed above.