Mississippi State gained some great news yesterday when former Iowa State hoops star Shane Power sent in his scholarship papers. Shane chose the Bulldogs over Notre Dame, New Mexico, Virginia, and Pittsburgh.
Power stands 6-5, weighs 215 pounds and boasts a 35 ĹĒ vertical. "Iím sure with the athletes in the SEC thatís not going to lead the team," he commented modestly. He has also displayed some strength, bench pressing 290 pounds.
Last year as a sophomore at Iowa State Power made the all Big 12 honorable mention team, the academic all Big 12 2nd team, and the Big 12 all tournament team. He was also named as the teams defensive player of the year.
Over the past two seasons Power has played point guard, shooting guard and small forward, and is waiting to see where the Bulldogs will place him. "Iím sure they will figure that out as I sit out a year, but I would imagine playing the shooting guard," Shane commented. "But I am just going to work as hard as I can, and let the good coaches do what they do."
Last season he averaged 13.6 points and 4.5 rebounds and led the team with 37 steals. He was also second on the team with 73 assists. He played high school ball at Andrean High in Merrillville, Indiana and left as the team's all time leading scorer (2,110) and basketball tradition rich Indianaís 20th all time scorer.
Power will have two years of eligibility remaining, but must sit out next year, because of the transfer. Transferring does, however, have an upside.
"One of the positives about transferring is it really takes the academic pressure off, because Iíve already got two years in and Iíve got two summers plus two more years, and a whole nother year if I need it," Shane explained. "It really takes the pressure of taking 15 or 18 credits off. I know that is going to be something Iíll enjoy."
Why Power Became a Bulldog
"Mississippi State was the best overall fit," he said. "There are a lot of things that go into making a college decision: the basketball opportunity, the academic situation, and living in a community.
State forward Shane Power (21) drives past Oklahoma forward Aaron McGhee (13)
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2002, during a Big 12 Conference game in Norman, Okla.
(AP Photo/Jerry Laizure)
"I mean Mississippi State was the best in most of those areas. Any time you have a balance of different aspects like that it makes it a special place."
Shane says he let the schools he was considering speak for themselves and avoided listening to preconceived notions. "I decided when I left that I was going to make my decision not based on perceptions, but based on reality," he said.
"I think a lot of times that in todayís society perceptions are all that matter. Then all of a sudden you find out the actual reality and it is different.
"I just decided that any school that was going to recruit me, I was going to do my homework on them, and give everyone a fair shot. Mississippi State, Coach Cunningham, called the first day they could, and I asked him some very in depth questions.
"'Take me through a daily routine. Take me through a practice schedule.' I asked about the community. I asked about the academic situation.
"He had researched a lot of stuff specific to me before he called. He was always well prepared, and he did a great job of sending me information important in my decision to come to Mississippi State."
Phil Cunningham started the ball rolling, and, once he got him on campus, the rest of the staff helped close the deal. "Coach Cunningham was the main recruiter, but once I got on campus I spent a lot of time with Coach Kirby, and the whole coaching staff. They were great."
The Bulldogsí drive and enthusiasm were also selling points. "I guess the thing I was most impressed with was the fact that they won the SEC championship. They won 27 games and won like eight games in a row in the league.
"From watching the league on TV and playing with guys in the summers who play in that league, to win eight games in a row in a league like that shows that the players have a commitment to each other, not wanting to let each other down, and it shows how tough the team. You have to have mental toughness to win eight games in a row in the SEC."
Power Brings Intangibles to the Table
"I guess probably the best complement I have ever gotten is from a couple of the Big 12 coaches," Power stated. ďThey just said, 'I like the fact that you are a winner', and I think that encompasses just about everything.
"I am going to whatever it takes to help my team win. If thatís shooting the ball from the perimeter, if thatís rebounding the ball, or if thatís playing defense, thatís what I am going to concentrate on.
"With that in mind, individually, I am constantly working to get better. I have a lot of high goals, and I have a lot of high team goals, and Iíve only got two years left to achieve them, so urgency is a factor."
Mario Austinís Role in Shaneís Decision
"I looked at that (Marioís return to the team) and was extremely impressed, for a guy who would have probably gone in the first round. For him to come back to school shows that heís at a great place.
Rickey Paulding, right, has his shot blocked by Iowa State's Shane Power,
left, while Clint Varley, bottom, defends Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2002, during
the second half of Missouri's 76-73 victory in Columbia, Mo. (AP
"I was reading up on that even before I decided to transfer. Thatís really unheard of. Thatís going against the grain, so he was obviously at a place he was happy with on a daily basis, or he wouldnít have made that decision."
The Move Down South and the Influence of Fan Support
The states of Mississippi and Indiana are different in a lot of ways, and Shane said this was something he considered. "Yes, Iíve definitely thought about that," he said with a laugh.
"Itís not right around the corner and noone knows me in Mississippi. People had no idea who I was or anything like that, but they were still coming up to me and shaking my hand, and hugging me. It was just really open and personable and nice.
"Iíve heard about the warm southern loving, or whatever, and it was true. Everyone was just really, really, nice, and they all take a pride in living in Mississippi, and being a part of the Mississippi State family. I think just about everyone, even outside the basketball program, talked about being a part of the Mississippi State family.
"I think that is the best way to describe Starkville is a family type atmosphere."
Shane took his official visit to Starkville during the final weekend of baseball season, when MSU swept arch rival Ole Miss to clinch a berth in the SEC tournament. He liked what he saw.
"I was impressed with the fan support, and obviously Mississippi State baseball is a big deal. There are just so many big time programs at Mississippi State.
"Itís not just the basketball, not just the football. All the sports are big time."
Shaneís Thoughts on Leaving Iowa State
"ĒIím not going to give a specific reason, but I was very thankful for my experience there,Ē he commented. ď It taught me a lot.
"It gave me a chance to be a big part of winning the big 12 championship, and I wear that ring proudly. The next year I got a chance to be a team captain and kind of see what it was like to be one of the main guys, and that was a great learning experience also.
"That helped me develop as a player and a person. I hope I can just keep improving on that as I get to Mississippi State."
The Bulldogs picked up not only a great player, but a great person when they signed Shane Power. Look for his attitude to help influence the team the minute he walks onto the campus, and to improve exponentially when he steps on the court in the fall of 2003.