Shane Power Ready To Return To Italy

He has yet to get on the court with the clock running for-real. For that matter he's not even sure what jersey he would be wearing. But Shane Power is really, really ready to play some basketball again.

"I'm going back to Italy next week," said Power following Wednesday night's Mississippi State home game. The former Bulldog was in the country, and in town, for a few days here at the mid-point of the European professional season. Power was at The Hump to watch his alma mater play, but the primary topic among friends and well-wishers was his own status of the moment.

"I spent the first half of the season at Teramo," Power explained. Except he wasn't actually playing with the Italian club. "I just re-habbed my knee, I hurt it at the Pacers' summer league." Power tore some cartilage while playing in Indianoplis' off-season squad, which ended his rookie hopes of earning either a NBA or Developmental League deal for this winter.

Not only that, the second-generation American had to bow out of playing for the Irish National Team in Olympic qualifying competition. "I didn't get to go." But Power did end up on the other side of the Atlantic anyway on the roster of the club based in the city of Teramo. "They brought me over to re-hab. And actually they liked me as a player and person, what they could see, so they offered an extension for next year, too. But I hurt my other knee a little bit when I was over there, that's why I'm back right now."

But he's leaving again next Wednesday, and once back in Italy with the second half of that season beginning Power will have some decisions to make. Teramo has been joined by other bidders. "There's a couple of different teams that have offers on the table."

As the Bulldogs were losing to Tennessee, his old coach would have loved to offer Power a chance to get back in that game. Power finished a two-year career at State with 667 points in 64 games, along with 95 treys and 128 assists. He was voted second-team All-SEC as a senior, and owns a SEC Championship ring as the starting swingman on the 2004 State squad that earned the league title.

Which made watching his successors come up short painful, even in a major rebuilding year after losing Power and the rest of the starting lineup from '05. "It's kind of rough to see them," he said after a 88-65 home loss. And even when he can't see these Dogs play, he can hear them.

"I listen to every game on the internet. It's hard leaving this place, you pour your heart and soul into a place and I still feel like I'm part of it here." In fact, if Power has his way, someday he'll be sitting on the bench in civilian garb much as he did last night. Only, much closer to the business end of the seats.

"I do want to be a coach," he agreed, echoing frequent comments from senior-season interviews. "I'd love to come back and be one of the coaches here one day! That's one of my goals after I'm done playing. I love this place."

Gene's Page Top Stories