T.J. Power’s Move to Worcester Academy Helps Bond with Hawkeyes

September 11, 2020

Written by Anna Kayser

Hawkeye Nation

For Iowa basketball recruiting target T.J. Power, the decisions he has made surrounding his high school career and those he’ll have to make going forward regarding a future collegiate career are rooted in competitiveness. There’s something about pushing himself to be better that he’s drawn to. 

That was proven when he decided to transfer to Worchester Academy, a prep school just 10 minutes from his house, from his state semifinal team at St. John’s High School in Shrewsburg, Mass.

Worchester’s head basketball coach, Jamie Sullivan, has known Power’s family for years after Power’s sister, Lauren, attended Worchester Academy and graduated in 2019. But Power had an opportunity at St. John’s to be a standout star early and to lead a historically good program to the next level. So, for two years, he did just that. 

“When T.J. started to see he’s the tallest player on the team, he’s a three-man and he should be a [four- or] five-man… we always knew that at some point it was going to be a transition for him to transition to a prep school, so we were always just kind of there,” Sullivan said. 

Following the 2019-20 season, Worcester Academy lost some size most notably in current Hawkeye power forward, 6-foot-10 Josh Ogundele. Power, standing at 6-foot-8, had an opportunity to make himself better and to establish himself in a program that was known for sending players to Division 1 teams. 

“The move for me was based off of the best fit as far as a player,” Power said. “I’ve known Coach Sullivan for a long time, and I know he’s going to give me the confidence I need and the resources I need to become the best player I can be. The way that team plays I think is going to fit what I’m moving towards as far as being a versatile big who can stretch the floor and play the perimeter and play 2-4, 1-4 and guard multiple positions and kind of play fast.”

That competitiveness and improvement on his game will come not only from who he’s playing on opposing teams, but who he’s playing with on his own. 

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Point guard Dasonte Bowen, another Iowa recruiting target in the Class of 2022 – Power moved to the Class of 2023 with his transfer to Worcester Academy – played with Power on an AAU team growing up. 

Not only will it translate on the court to join forces with a player whose game he knows well, it’s given Power a boost in practice to be better. When Power announced his transfer to Worcester, schools around the country recognized that. 

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“I think colleges saw that I was taking initiative to put myself in a competitive environment and every day go against Dasonte and guys like that who are going to kind of get under me and make me work for it,” Power said. 

One of those teams was Iowa, a school he wasn’t familiar with being half a country away, but through a Zoom visit with the coaching staff, he was able to get a feel for what the basketball program is all about.

Ogundele helps with that, too. Although Power was never close with the Iowa freshman, they’ve been in touch recently through the recruiting process. Ogundele tells him about the Iowa program from an inside perspective, and even offered advice on the transfer to Worcester. 

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Ultimately though, it comes down to the competitive factor, and for Power that’s what stands out for Iowa. 

“You could go play Michigan State on Tuesday and come back a few days later and play Michigan and Maryland and all those teams like that, so it’s just going to build you mentally and physically to play the best of the best every week,” Power said. 

 

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