HCHS to Chowan ‘pipeline’ continues

Published 4:48 pm Friday, August 18, 2023

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AHOSKIE – The outflow of athletic talent from Hertford County High School to Chowan University continues.

On Wednesday of this week, Israel Powell became the latest former HCHS player to sign a scholarship to continue their education and athletic career at Chowan.

At Chowan, Powell will join former HCHS teammate Daylan Askew (Class of 2021), a 6-3 junior guard who started 25 games last season, averaging 12.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game for the Hawks. He was tied for second on the team in the number of successful three-point baskets (42).

Desiree Askew, a 5-9 forward who is a 2022 HCHS grad, was a freshman on Chowan’s 2022-23 women’s team.

Powell, a three-time All-Conference performer for legendary HCHS coach Charles Simmons, averaged 17.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.6 steals per game during his senior season for the Bears. At 6-3, 210 pounds, Powell was a versatile performer at HCHS, able to play at the shooting guard or either of the forward positions.

“It feels good to have a chance to play at the next level,” said Powell moments after placing his signature on a full scholarship to attend Chowan. “I know the competition will a higher level of basketball, but I feel that can take my game to a higher level as well.”

Powell said he looks forward to having the opportunity to once again be a teammate of Daylan Askew.

“I’ve been watching him during his first two years there [Chowan]. We’ve already hooked up this summer in some games at the rec center and working out in the weightroom,” Powell noted. “It will feel good to be his teammate at Chowan.”

In high school, Powell was a standout in football as well at the wide receiver position. His skills there helped the Bears reach the third round of the 2022 NCHSAA Class 2A state playoffs. When asked why he favored scoring baskets rather than touchdowns, Powell said the choice was an easy one to make.

“I’ve played basketball for most all my life; it’s a game I love to play,” he said, adding that he started competing as an 8-year-old at the Bertie YMCA in Windsor.

Powell continued refining his basketball skills at Hertford County Middle School as a 7th and 8th grader. Upon his arrival at Hertford County High School, his hard-nosed style of play quickly caught the eye of coach Simmons.

“IP (Powell’s nickname) was a four-year starter for us,” Simmons noted. “That’s a rarity in my program. He was super competitive when he came in as a freshman. He looked and played a lot older than he was at that time. He was very mature for his age. Physically, I knew he could handle the game; he stepped right in an did a great job for us as a freshman.”

“I got pushed around early by the older guys, but it made me a better player, it made me work even harder,” Powell said of his freshman year at HCHS.

Powell added that the HCHS coaches pushed him to work on his ball handling skills as well as using drills to make him a more accurate shooter.

“Coach Simmons had a big impact on my life; he made me a better player on the court and pushed me to be a better person off the court,” Powell stressed.

Powell reports to Chowan on Saturday (Aug. 19) and begins classes the following week. He plans to major in Sports Medicine with an eye on pursuing a career as an athletic trainer.

And the good thing about being in college in Murfreesboro is the fact that Powell can be in Ahoskie in less than 20 minutes.

“I plan to be back here [HCHS] when I can to watch my boys play,” Powell promised, referencing the upcoming high school football and basketball seasons.

Simmons stressed that he was happy to see Powell have the chance to play at the collegiate level, especially at Chowan with Daylan Askew.

“That’s a compliment to our program here at Hertford County, having two of our former players now at Chowan,” Simmons stated. “It’s really special to me considering that one of my players back in the 1990s, Rob Burke, is now the head basketball coach at Chowan. With Rob back home, he’s taking a good look at the basketball talent we have here and all around us. Plus, with DayDay (Daylan Askew) at Chowan, that gives IP another mentor to help improve his game.”

Coach Burke likes what he sees in Powell.

“He’s an athlete…I saw it on the football field and on the basketball court,” Burke noted. “I’m excited to see what he can do now that he’s only focusing on just one sport. I like his physicality….we can build on that and make him an elite defender.”

Having the relationship already in place with Daylan Askew will only make Powell a more complete player, Burke said.

“Israel already understands how our program works by being around DayDay,” Burke remarked. “DayDay is already proving to be a good mentor and role model for Israel to follow.

“I think Israel can compete right out of the gate for us,” coach Burke added. “I love his demeanor.”

In closing, Burke said he wants to continue recruiting athletes from Hertford County and northeastern North Carolina.

“I know what it means to give young men from this area a chance to showcase themselves. The biggest thing is getting them an education. Four years from now, if Israel walks across the stage to accept his diploma, that will be the most important day of his life and I know it will mean so much to his mom. It doesn’t matter if he scores a single point for Chowan, if he graduates and is a model citizen then we’ve done our job as coaches,” Burke concluded.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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