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Barnesville’s Powell to play hoops at WLU

BARNESVILLE — There’s basketball junkie and then there’s Luke Powell.

The Barnesville senior has ate, slept and drank the game of basketball since he was basically old enough to pick up a ball.

That is paying dividends now.

Powell officially inked his National Letter of Intent to continue both his academic and basketball careers at West Liberty University.

“After a couple of visits and getting to spend time with the coaches and some of the players, I really felt comfortable at West Liberty,” Powell said. “I really like Coach (Ben) Howlett and obviously they’re one of the best (Division II) programs in the country, so you can’t get much better than that either.”

Powell remained patient during the recruiting process. He played during the spring and summer for Hidden Gems travel organization and went through several workouts as he tried to earn offers. Once the Hilltoppers and head coach Ben Howlett came through with one, Powell committed almost immediately.

“It was a long (recruiting) process overall, but from playing in bigger AAU tournaments like in Columbus, Fort Wayne and places like that, I was able to catch some people’s eyes. I am glad it worked out like it did.”

With the college process completed, Powell can focus on the upcoming season with the Shamrocks.

“It definitely takes a weight off the shoulders having this out of the way,” Powell said. “It’s nice being able to just go out, play and have fun and try to win as many games as possible.”

Powell is coming off a brilliant junior season for the Shamrocks.

He led his team to the OVAC Class 3A title and earned game MVP honors. For the season, Powell averaged an area best 29.6 points.

“I’m really excited for the season,” Powell said. “I’m excited to get back on the court and start playing again. I’m hoping we’re able to do a lot the things we did last year and more.”

For his career, Powell has scored 1,588 points, which puts him 585 points shy of the Shamrocks all-time scoring record. That record, by the way, is held by his father, Matt, who is an OVAC Hall of Famer.

“I’d by lying if I said (that record) didn’t mean something to me,” Luke Powell said. “Ever since I was really young, and my dad and I would talk about basketball or his career, that’s something that’s been a goal of mine.”

If Powell were to continue on his current pace, it would be late January when he would begin to flirt with the record which is 2,173.

“If it happens, it will be a special moment because I know my dad will be as happy as you can be for me,” Powell said.

“I don’t think he would want anyone else to break his record, so I think it’ll be a great moment for us.”

As Powell has piled up the points, he’s also stacked up the accolades.

He was named the Division III District 12 Player of the Year last season. He was second-team all-Ohio, first-team all-Eastern District, all-OVAC, all-Valley and All Times Leader captain.

Though Powell’s shown his abilities time and time again on the prep level as well as on travel circuit, the jump to NCAA Division II is sizeable.

Howlett was very candid with Powell about the areas in which the Shamrock needs to continue to improve to be able to contribute the way both want at the collegiate level.

“The main thing Coach Howlett brought up was that I need to continue to get better on defense and moving and playing without the ball in my hands,” Powell said.

Obviously, the latter part of that is tough because Powell is the unquestioned leader of the Shamrocks and will have the ball in his hands almost on every possession this season.

“It’s more about moving without the ball because that’s such an important part of what they do at West Liberty,” Powell said. ”

While basketball has been Powell’s primary focus, athletically, he’s very active at Barnesville and a standout in the classroom, too. He’s a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, Varsity B, volunteers with the summer lunch program and with the school food drive.

Luke, who plans to major in physical therapy, is the son of Matt and Penny Powell.

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