Seaforth junior Jarin Stevenson and Northwood junior Drake Powell have bigger aspirations than playing high school basketball, but both are quietly approaching a major milestone in their prep careers.
As things stand, both Stevenson and Powell are closing in on 1,000 career points. The Seaforth forward sits at 958 entering this week’s games, while Northwood’s guard is a few points back at 902. As long as they maintain their scoring averages, the expectation is that both will hit the mark by the end of the month.
The only current Chatham County boys player with over 1,000 career points is Chatham Charter senior Adam Harvey (1,081). He hit the mark earlier this season in a win over Southern Alamance.
“I honestly didn’t know I was getting close,” Stevenson. “I might have to keep an eye on that now ... I’ve been trying to be more team-focused. I guess it’s a cool achievement, but I’m more focused on getting the win for the team.
Stevenson has led the Hawks to a 9-4 overall record and a 4-0 record in conference play so far this season. But things haven’t been all roses for Seaforth over the past several months.
Competing at the Chick-fil-A Classic in Lexington, S.C., over the holiday break, Seaforth lost both of its games to Richland Northeast and Cardinal Newman by nearly 29 points per game.
The Hawks left the holiday showcase with a bad taste in their mouths, but they looked like a new team this week in matchups against county foes Chatham Central and Jordan-Matthews. Stevenson, the 6-foot-11 junior, averaged 22.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.5 blocks per game in the victories.
“I’m proud of the guys and proud of the whole team,” Stevenson said. “Those were two hard losses at the tournament, but we bounced back with two nice wins. We have to keep our heads up and keep going forward.”
Powell, for his part, had led Northwood to an 11-2 overall record and a 4-0 mark in conference play this season. The Chargers’ only two losses this winter have come against Cannon Academy — ranked as the No. 5 current team in N.C by MaxPreps — and Camden High (N.J.), which ranks No. 5 in the entire country.
The 6-foot-6 wing is averaging 20.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game for the Chargers this season. Northwood — which is ranked No. 8 in N.C. by MaxPreps — figures to be among the top 3A teams left in the state by season’s end.
Last year, Northwood made it to the fourth round of the state tournament before losing to West Carteret, 51-44.
Regardless of how this season, or the next, turns out for Powell and Stevenson, their basketball careers won’t be finished. The duo are among the top recruits nationally in the Class of 2024, with Stevenson coming in at No. 13 and Powell at No. 50 in 247Sports, composite rankings. Powell is committed to UNC, while Stevenson is still undecided.
Stevenson has reported six Division-I scholarship offers, including ones from UNC, Virginia, Missouri and Georgetown. Wherever he winds up, he figures to create some NBA draft buzz, as his unique blend of size and skill could make him among the more appealing frontcourt options when he becomes draft eligible in 2024.
But for now, Stevenson is focused on what’s right in front of him.
“I’m trying to keep my dreams big, but I’m going to keep working and keep my head down,” he said. “I can’t think too far ahead, though. I’m trying to take it step by step. I have the bigger picture in mind, but I still have to take it one step at a time. I think that’s what’s going to get me to the next level and then the next level after that.”
Sports Editor Jeremy Vernon can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @jbo_vernon.