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TJ Power ‘trusted his gut feeling’ on way to Duke basketball
TJ Power signed with Duke in November. (Courtesy: TJ Power)

TJ Power ‘trusted his gut feeling’ on way to Duke basketball

WORCESTER, Mass. (BVM) — TJ Power is one of many top recruits to come out of the northeast. The Worcester Academy product is the No. 22 player in the country and the No. 1 player in the state of Massachusetts for the 2023 class according to 247 Sports

But unlike many top prospects nowadays, or teenagers in general, he is not one to base his life around technology. He is not into video games and seldom uses social media. His preference is anything outdoors, such as a hike.

“I’m more like an old soul in that sense,” Power joked. “Anything that can be fun and creative without having to stare at a screen all day is up my alley.”

His whole family is similar, living an active lifestyle. This is somewhat how he found basketball.

Growing up, Power watched his older sister play the sport and knew it was something he wanted to try. His first chance came in second grade at the Friendly House, a local community center with a Boys and Girls club type of setup.

He was able to get a feel for the game there and develop as a player throughout his middle school years.

“That’s definitely where my journey started,” Power said.

He was already enamored with the game at this point, but something clicked whenever he was able to represent his school for the first time rather than a travel ball team in seventh grade. 

Something about the pageantry of having a school on your chest, playing against a rival, and working together with a group of guys that are all passionate about where they come from.

That’s what took his love of the game to another level.

“You had the sense of community playing in front of your classmates,” Power said. “Ever since then, I’ve just chased that feeling of playing for a bigger purpose.”

Now as a senior, he represents the Hilltoppers’ basketball program, which he helped lead to a NEPSAC championship last season.  The cherry on top was to win one for long-time coach James Sullivan who has helped him grow along the way.

“Being able to win a championship for him brought a lot of joy to our whole team,” Power said. “It’s something I’m going to carry with me my whole life.”

Outside of the current roster, he is also hoping their run has a lasting impact in the area for future generations.

“We were able to bring the community along. Our playoff games were packed with people from the city,” Power said. “I just hope even after we’re gone that it stays like that.”

Prior to the beginning of his senior season, Power officially signed with the University of Duke, one of his dream schools growing up.

“It was trusting my gut feeling,” Power said. “Things needed to be in place for me to be able to make that choice and I think they are.”

Whether it was the coaching staff, incoming recruiting class or academics everything about the Blue Devils checked off all of his boxes and made Power confident that was where he wanted to play his college ball.

But in the meantime, Power is enjoying life in his final year of high school. But when he’s not on the court, he is invested in one of his new hobbies: podcasting.

For his senior project, he has been covering sports at Worcester Academy, interviewing both players and staff. In an era where players have their own podcasts such as Draymond Green and Patrick Beverley, maybe Power will be next.

“We’re trying to publicize our athletics a little bit more and all of our great athletes,” Power said. “I really like it so far. That’s something I really want to pursue in college as far as the classes I take.”

But as much as he enjoys dabbling in the media, his top priority has always been basketball. That has been the case since he was a kid and that is the main reason why he has had as much success as he has had throughout his career.

“It’s a lot of dedication and a lot of sacrifice. You don’t get here by accident,” Power said. “I’ve played a lot of other sports where I work hard and it always feels like a grind. But basketball was never that for me. It’s always been fun and an escape.”

While Power has aspirations of an NBA career and winning a national championship at Duke, he is taking it day by day in Worcester, hoping for another chance to expand his impact with another state title run. 

“I’m never one to look ahead too much,” Power said. “That’s what I’ve done my whole life and that’s how I’ve gotten here.”

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