Week of Change

To paraphrase the late Lewis Grizzard, Chase Nyman has left and I don't feel so good myself. Not necessarily that he's gone. Just that nobody's talking, so I'm here trying to tell you something, a lot of it based on unknowns due to silence. That's never a good thing in reporting.

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I talked to Nyman for stories a few times during his high school years. Last summer the media interviewed some of the new players who were here for summer school. This summer we didn't do that. There seemed to be more focus on the upcoming football season with the new regime. Certainly that was where fan interest was. And is.

So we didn't catch up with Nyman, potentially the starting second baseman for Ole Miss following the departure of Alex Yarbrough to the pros. Or any of the other newcomers this summer. We'd have plenty of time to do that. Fall ball starts Sept. 14.

Nyman was here as late as this past Monday, maybe Tuesday. Then gone. Gone back to the coast. Now he's a student at Chipola (Junior) College in Florida.

It's been difficult getting much in the way of info. Professionally, I prefer facts, and I want attribution and accountability. When I am not sure of either, I balk, even at opinions of others, because that can haunt.

So I said that to say this: There seemed to be, according to sources, a "miscommunication" in the scholarship situation for Nyman. Nobody's to blame? Everybody's to blame? This recruitment process went on for, what was it, two years? But baseball can be that way. He signed in November, 2011.

It's not necessarily that easy to decipher baseball scholarships, like football or basketball. Here's your scholarship, they can say in those other two major sports. In baseball, there's the minimum coaches have to give a player, there's the percentage above that a player could be awarded, there's the 11.7 scholarships that the NCAA allows that are divided.

It seems moving on is about what everybody wants to do with the situation. Certainly a text from Nyman to me today indicated that. To paraphrase, no comment.

Mike Bianco
Associated Press

So I don't know how he feels about it all, because the current Chipola (Junior) College student and baseball player isn't talking about it, at least not publicly. Certainly that's his choice. And there have been several choices made by him and his family this week. Life-changing ones.

They may turn out to be the best thing for Nyman. He can potentially now be drafted next June out of junior college. That wouldn't be the case at Ole Miss next summer. But who really knows? Time will tell.

The Ole Miss baseball coaches aren't talking. What good would it likely do them? Now that it's over and done with, there are other kids to coach and mold into a team for 2013 and beyond. Nyman would have likely been a big part of it, played a role in whatever success the program has. But who really knows? Time would have told, but no more.

Who will play second base, which is where Nyman would have competed and potentially started? Jake Overbey, a 10th round pick by the Phillies last summer with a year at Ole Miss under his belt, is a candidate. So is junior college transfer Lance Wilson. And freshman Christian Helsel. Others might move around the infield and be there, like maybe an Austin Anderson from shortstop or an Andrew Mistone from third base. But Mistone was defensively as good as you'll find at the hot corner. Preston Overbey is a third baseman candidate if that happens, but I just can't see Mistone moving from the spot where he is so effective.

A class that would certainly be ranked highly among all those in college baseball took hit after hit this summer. Gone as first rounders to the pros were shortstop Gavin Cecchini, catcher Stryker Trahan, and right-handed pitcher Ty Hensley. When they were being recruited, the coaches knew they'd be good or they wouldn't have been after them in the first place. But they continued to get "really good" the last couple of seasons and summers, and are gone. Zach Irwin, a left-handed pitcher, didn't qualify. Now Nyman is gone.

So who remains in this class? Right-handed pitchers Brady Bramlett and Jacob Waguespack, who will compete for one of the weekend starting roles – the other spots with rightys Bobby Wahl and Mike Mayers all but secured. There's outfielder Cameron Dishon, Helsel, left-handed pitcher Matt Denny, catcher/infielder Tyler Jackson, right-handed pitcher Connor Jordan, and catcher Holt Perdzock.

In addition to Wilson coming in from a junior college, there's catcher Stuart Turner, who will compete to start, and left-handed pitcher Austin Blunt, who is bound to help.

For Ole Miss baseball, there's work to be done. NCAA Regionals 10 out of 12 years, including four Super Regionals, is impressive. The improvement from no postseason in 2011 to a Regional final against TCU in College Station, Texas, this summer was significant.

But not hosting since 2009 has left some among the fanbase disgruntled. Certainly a week like this adds fuel to the fire for those who are not happy. Getting to Omaha is the only thing that would change the minds of those in that particular group. That comes up again starting February through June, and we'll see.

As for now, it's a bit of a scratch your head situation, falling short of a wring your hands moment. But Nyman was here, was supposed to still be here, and now is gone. Perhaps it will work out best for all.

But who knows or will ever know? It was all speculation before he arrived, and now we know at least this much: He won't wear the red and blue of the Ole Miss Rebels in the Southeastern Conference.

The rest? Time will tell.

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