Indiana has focused in on the combination of length and perimeter shooting as a priority for its remaining opening in the class of 2023.
Massachusetts based 6-foot-9 forward TJ Power has made a strong impression this spring and IU offered a couple weeks ago. Playing for Boston-based BABC on the Nike EYBL Circuit, Power averaged 18.3 points on 44.3 percent shooting from three, and added 8.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game during the second live period.
Power is currently ranked No. 80 overall in the 2023 class according to the 247Sports Composite.
We caught up with Power to discuss the latest with his recruitment and get his early impressions of Indiana. Here’s our Q&A with Power:
TDH: You already had plenty of Division One offers and interest prior to the spring, but why do you believe your recruitment has gone to another level here in the last two months?
Power — I think I am just playing with a lot more confidence and more aggressive. It’s just the work building up heading into the high school year, and I just think I’ve been able to bring that out in front of the coaches. It’s more of a mentality than it is anything physical, honestly.
(TDH Note: Power has been offered by Penn, Xavier, USC, Notre Dame, Virginia, Indiana, and Stanford just in the last month).
TDH: Did you have any connections or ties to Indiana before this spring? Who do you talk to from there most often?
Power — No, I hadn’t talked to them at all until this spring. I talk to Coach (Yasir) Rosemond usually.
TDH: What do you know about the Indiana program, both before and since they have started to recruit you?
Power — I know historically with Indiana, the success they’ve had there with Coach Knight and everything, just kind of the history, and the fan base that they have in the state. And then with the new staff, I know Coach Woodson was a long-time NBA coach and player, so that was definitely something that kind of intrigued me with what he wants to build there. I watched them a little bit in the NCAA Tournament and I really liked Trayce Jackson-Davis. I just think the new staff has a good energy around them, and they’re trying to put Indiana back on top.
TDH: Does Woodson’s NBA background matter to elite high school prospects?
Power — Yeah, definitely. It’s just nice to have someone giving you advice as far as the process, because he’s been through it and had success in it. And as far as coaching goes, he has systems that are going to help me prepare for the next level, which is where I want to go. He’s seen the best in the world do it, and he knows their work ethic, so that’s definitely something that can translate to the recruits coming in.
TDH: What is Indiana’s overall message to you right now? What do they like about your game?
Power — The versatility that I bring is something that they talk about a lot. I just think the way Coach Woodson wants to play, with an NBA style with a big wing who can pass, and shoot and dribble is where I fit in. And his mentality is he wants tough players who have a high motor, and that’s how I would describe myself. Those are the two main things that they’ve preached to me about why they like me.
TDH: Indiana has high-level facilitators in the 2022 and 2023 classes with Jalen Hood-Schifino and Gabe Cupps. Is that something you look at as someone who will be playing off the ball on the wing getting set up for shots?
Power — Yeah, I know more about Gabe so far than I do about Jalen, but that’s definitely something that once I get closer to decision time and get real deep into some of these schools that I’m going to be looking at, play style and the players I would be with. Having guards who can help me get the ball in my hands is a big thing, and from what I’ve heard they are both hard workers, and that’s what the staff tells me, so that’s a big part of it.
TDH: What are some of the other key factors that will drive your college decision?
Power — My relationship with the coaching staff. I want to be able to play with confidence and have trust in my coaches and my teammates. I’m not caught up in the facilities and NIL, I’m more focused on the people at the college that I’m going to. As far as playing style, somewhere that utilizes me in different ways. I don’t want to have just one role, I want to expand and play in some different positions, so places that value that.
TDH: I know you are a high academic guy. How will that part of it factor in?
Power — It’s huge for me to end up at a place that is a high academic school and really challenges you in the classroom and holds academics in the same weight as basketball. When I’m making my decision I want to be able to set myself up for life after basketball, and that’s why I am stressing that side of it so much.
TDH: You’re also an elite baseball player. How will that factor into your college decision?
Power — I want to find the right spot for basketball first, and then evaluate the baseball side. If I can play then great, I definitely want to do that, but if someone tells me no, then it isn’t going to turn me off to their basketball program. But if the opportunity is there then I would definitely consider it and try to play both.
(TDH Note: Power is a left-handed pitcher and right-handed shooter. On the court he seems to be as skilled with his left hand as his right.)
TDH: Do you have any visits set up yet for the summer?
Power — I’m going to visit Virginia May 30 to June 1, and that’s all I have set in stone right now. I’ve talked to Rosemond about getting to Indiana in June sometime, maybe early June when the players get there so I can see them.
(TDH Note: Power said he has only taken one official visit so far, so he has four more junior year officials available, and then five senior year officials if he needs them.)
TDH: Have you thought about a timeline for your decision-making process?
Power — I’m just going to go through the process over the summer, and then narrow it down in the fall and then make a decision sometime before my high school season starts, like late fall or early winter.
For thoughts from Power’s high school coach, GO HERE.
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