Northwood basketball standout Drake Powell was named a McDonald’s All-American on Jan. 23, becoming the first athlete in Northwood and Chatham County history to earn the honor.
Powell was presented with a plaque for the All-American selection before Northwood tipped-off against Jordan-Matthews Friday. The McDonald’s All-American Boys Game will be held at the Toyota Center in Houston on April 2 at 9 p.m., and Powell will play with the East team alongside future UNC teammate Ian Jackson.
“There’s a certain level you have to be on to play in this game,” Powell said. “I’m just excited.”
The 6-foot-6 forward earned his spot to play alongside the nation’s best with consistent next-level play during his four seasons at Northwood. Throughout his high school career, Powell has averaged just over 16 points and 6 rebounds per game while also being an elite all-around defender.
As of Monday, he’s averaging 18.5 points and 7.4 rebounds in his senior year, and he’s ranked the No. 9 player in the class of 2024.
Powell said being a McDonald’s All-American is something he’s had his eyes set on for some time. Many McDonald’s All-Americans go on to play in the NBA which is something Powell wants to do one day.
And, for a Northwood program that has produced numerous talented basketball players over the years, having the school’s first McDonald’s All-American is also “a dream come true.”
“It’s well deserved,” Northwood head coach Matt Brown said. “It couldn’t have happened to a better person and we’re really proud.”
Powell said he knew the choice to stay at Northwood after having the opportunity to play at Prolific Prep in Napa, California would have possibly slimmed his chances of being a McDonald’s All-American. However, it all worked out in the end, and achieving the goal in his hometown just only adds to the legacy he’ll leave as a Charger.
“I wanted to make a legacy as much as I can, following in the footsteps of my older brother and sister, Deuce and Cera Powell,” Powell said. “Not just (at) Northwood, but the community of Chatham County as well.”
Said Brown, “He’s paved the way for a lot of the other guys coming through Northwood. Northwood’s always had a big tradition of basketball, and I think Drake has just elevated it to another level now. To have an All-American, a UNC guy, it shows the other guys that someone from the little town of Pittsboro can accomplish what they want to accomplish if they work hard enough.”