Rising 2024 guard Jonathan Powell landed first in-state Ohio State scholarship offer

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch

The visit was over and the news had spread when some extra significance reached Jonathan Powell.

Monday, the rising shooting guard from the Dayton area took a visit to Ohio State that resulted in a scholarship offer. Not only was it a big one for the 2024 prospect, but it was also the first in-state offer extended by the Buckeyes for his recruiting class.

It wasn’t Powell’s first, but it was a meaningful milestone.

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“It felt good to know that,” he said. “Coach (Jake) Diebler wanted us on campus ASAP. We did a couple of phone calls and one of the coaches came and watched me work out at Centerville and then we scheduled to get on campus this week and that’s when it happened.”

Woodward forward Ru Mills (2) is fouled by Chaminade Julienne's Jonathan Powell (33) during the Bulldogs' win in the district final, Wednesday, March 2, 2022.

A 6-6, 170-pound guard, Powell played his way onto Ohio State’s radar while playing for the Wildcat Select program during spring AAU events. Powell said he especially played well in a game against Indiana Elite, and from there the Buckeyes began recruiting him.

They weren’t alone in that. Within the last month, Powell had earned offers from Dayton, Illinois, Texas A&M and Xavier before getting one from Ohio State. Thursday, he took an unofficial visit to Indiana, which also offered him.

“I was able to show what I was able to do (this spring) and it opened up for coaches to start recruiting me,” he said. “After that weekend, I started blowing up and getting recognized for my talent. It’s amazing. You get to finally see your dreams come true and get what you’ve wanted: the attention, all the colleges start looking at you now because after that time all your hard work is starting to show.”

With associate head coach Jake Diebler serving as his primary recruiter, Powell said he quickly started to develop a relationship with Ohio State and coach Chris Holtmann. When he was invited to take an unofficial visit to campus, he had a feeling a scholarship offer might be coming as well.

“I wasn’t sure if it was going to be an offer the first time, but I knew we were building a strong relationship over the last week or two before we went on campus,” he said. “I felt like it was 50-50 with me getting offered, but with me getting offered I felt extremely blessed to get an offer from there.”

The visit was a short one, Powell said, but he was able to tour the practice facilities and the team’s locker room. He will return for a longer tour of campus, he said.

Powell also spent time with Diebler and Holtmann in the coach’s office, where they discussed a few similarities they told Powell they see with him and a former player: Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary guard Malaki Branham, last season’s Big Ten freshman of the year who is projected to be a first-round pick in the NBA Draft.

“I liked how Malaki played,” Powell said. “He was the main (college) player I looked at. They brought it up: we’re both from Ohio, really skillful guards that have really good potential.”

Most teams are recruiting Powell as a guard, he said, although he has the potential to play on the wing as he continues to grow and develop. The Ohio State coaches said they “like how gifted and talented I am and how I can shoot the ball and play off the dribble and basically do everything,” he said.

One day later, Ohio State also offered Tyler McKinley, a power forward from Cincinnati Walnut Hills who is ranked the top Ohioan in the class according to 247Sports.com. Powell, who will play at Centerville this season, is currently unranked.

Going forward, Powell said his plan is to continue to take more visits and meet with more schools. Illinois will likely receive a visit sometime next week as Powell looks for a school where he can build a strong relationship with the head coach and his staff. It’s an area where Powell said Ohio State has impressed him in a short period of time.

“(Diebler) was talkative the whole time, he was showing interest and he made me feel like I was at home,” he said. “Even though I’m not there yet, he made it feel like Ohio State was my home. Coach Holtmann later, he was talking to me and telling me how Ohio State is a brotherhood and when you’re here, we’re all together and we’re a family.”

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy

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