June 24, 2024

Northwood's Drake Powell: 'We're not done yet'Ian Jackson, a basketball recruit for UNC, is still vying for the top prep title, while Drake Powell was eliminated from consideration, Ian Jackson, a five-star guard from Our Saviour Lutheran (N.Y.), is one of the ten semifinalists for the Naismith Boys’ High School Player of the Year as of this week’s announcement. The other two early 2024 UNC basketball signees, James Brown, a four-star center from Link Academy (Mo.), and Drake Powell, a five-star forward from Northwood (N.C.), are not included on the list.
Even so, the Tar Heels’ total, with Jackson by himself, is second only to Rutgers’ two, at least for the time being. The list included two five-star junior forwards, Cameron Boozer and AJ Dybantsa, targets for UNC, as well as one uncommitted senior, five-star forward Derik Queen.
Even so, the Tar Heels’ total, with Jackson by himself, is second only to Rutgers’ two, at least for the time being. The list included two five-star junior forwards, Cameron Boozer and AJ Dybantsa, targets for UNC, as well as one uncommitted senior, five-star forward Derik Queen.
Ian Jackson, the Tar Heels’ highest-ranked player at No. 8 overall, doesn’t seem like a favorite to take home the trophy. In the 2024 cycle, it will likely come down to Rutgers’ outstanding five-star forward Ace Bailey and Duke’s top pick, five-star forward Cooper Flagg, ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

That being said, Jackson has still put on some incredible performances this season (see: his recent 33-point performance while sick).

The Naismith has only gone to a future UNC basketball player once since it was founded in 1987, and that was in 2002 to Raymond Felton, a five-star guard from Latta, South Carolina.
In January 2023, James Brown—ranked 71st overall on the 247Sports 2024 Composite—announced his commitment to play basketball at UNC. More than a year later, the 6-foot-9, 210-pound four-star is trying to persuade Jasper Johnson, a sharpshooting guard for Link Academy (Mo.), a five-star teammate, to follow suit.

READ MORE: Top UNC Target Displays Tar Heel Threads

Brown shared a photo of himself with Johnson on Friday while sporting Tar Heel attire. Johnson is ranked 12th among his 2025 contemporaries, however he hasn’t ruled out being reclassified to 2024 entirely. Brown asked his followers to “like” the post if they thought Johnson “would look good in a North Carolina shirt too” and tagged Johnson in it.

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