"I was last season, too," said Power, the veteran outfielder who redshirted in 2005 and has played the past three years. "I just want to be a leader and help the team any way I can."
Power, who will turn 23 on Aug 29, was drafted in the 25th round by the Padres earlier this month. Seven of his teammates were also drafted. Six of them decided it was time to move on. Only catcher Brett Basham had said he will come back to Ole Miss. Power said the same thing two days ago.
The leadership role Power talks about falls not only on him and Basham but on veterans like Brett Bukvich, Evan Button, Jordan Henry, Zach Miller, Rory McKean, and even younger players like Matt Smith and Tim Ferguson who saw a lot of action in 2008. It's a roster with a good bit of experience and maturity for next season.
"Coach (Bianco) and I talked about how a team needs older guys for the younger guys to look up to," said Power, who has had prominent role models himself, having played in high school at Hillcrest with current pros Seth Smith and Stephen Head, as well as redshirting during the Rebels' first Super Regional season when Texas came to town. "I'm excited I'll have the opportunity to be a leader again."
Power is a quiet, mostly unassuming member of the team who lets his actions on the field speak for him rather than having many rah-rah, audible moments. But that isn't all that unusual in baseball. Power did a nice job this past season leading by example.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder, who bats right and throws right, had a solid season in 2008 batting .329 with nine home runs and 51 RBI. He is the top returnee for the Rebs in the batting average and RBI categories and is second (behind Matt Smith's 14) in the long ball department. He led the team in walks with 39 and struck out only 27 times.
Power took some time after the draft to sort things out, play a little golf, and make sure he is doing what he should for the future. He's looking forward to coming back and leading the Rebels.
"Finishing school is important," said the psychology major. "I also felt in my heart that I was not done (with baseball) at Ole Miss and that we still have some things to achieve. I want another shot at Omaha, and I want to come back for the fans and my coaches and teammates."
Starting this weekend, Power's plan is all that.
"People ask me what I expected," he said of the draft. "I tell them I didn't really know what to expect. I guess I went about where I expected, but it's hard to say. All I know is I want to get back up there (in the next couple of weeks), take a class (second semester summer school), and get in the weight room. I only have 18 hours left to graduate, so I'll have a lot of time for baseball this school year."
Baseball at Ole Miss, that is, with a clear vision of how and when he wants to wrap up a productive career – with a college degree and another shot at the pros next time around.
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