Born in Burke County, NC and grew up behind the Collett Street Recreation Center in the area where Gene Turner Park sits today.
Attended Mountain View Elementary and West Concord Junior High School
Morganton High School
As a sophomore, Jimmy Powell led the county in scoring with 17.4 points per game, and also averaged double digit rebounds.
As a junior, he again led the county in scoring with 26.6 points per game and over 20 rebounds per game. He had a game that year in which he scored 38 points, 27 rebounds and 6 blocks.
That year he faced off with Avery Central star and future NC State National Champion, Tommy Burleson. While Avery Central won the game, Jimmy Powell scored 32 points in the matchup.
Jimmy Powell was unanimous Northwester Conference Player of Year
Played his senior year at the Laurinburg Institute
Jimmy Powell would spend his summers in New York playing at the famous Rucker Park. One year he participated in the Philadelphia Baker League against the likes of Julius Erving, Nate Archibald and Connie Hawkins.
Played a year at Isothermal Community College
Played at Middle Tennessee State University
72-73 season Powell averaged 14.8 ppg and 6.8 rpg
73-74 season Powell averaged 17.7 ppg and 6.6 rpg
He was name All-Ohio Valley Conference both years, and was Honorable Mention All-American his final year.
Drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1st pick of the 8th round (127 overall)
He hurt his foot in camp and came back to MTSU to finish his degree.
He got a call from the International Basketball League to play in Germany, so Powell traveled to Germany and played for 1.5 years.
He returned to MTSU to finish his degree
Jimmy Powell taught and coached at Morganton Junior High School with his last two years being at Liberty Middle.
He began working part-time as a supervisor with the City of Morganton and also officiating youth and adult leagues. He is still employed with the City and still officiates youth baseball/softball and adult softball games.
Jimmy Powell is still regarded by many as the best basketball player to ever come out of Burke County. He is still the only player from Burke County to ever be drafted into the NBA. He has been an outstanding teacher, coach and mentor to the youth of Burke County. Even today, he continues to encourage and mentor youth in the community.
“I just try to tell kids there is hope and opportunity out there. People have helped me, and I’m trying to help somebody. That’s what it is all about. Staying humble and moving on.”