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Power adds Indiana flavor to Bulldogs

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
March 19, 2004
Midway through the 2003-04 season, Hollywood endings were starting to become the norm for the Mississippi State University basketball team.
So it was no surprise when a sports writer alluded to images of the famed movie "Hoosiers" to describe the ending of the Bulldogs' 73-68 road win over Auburn on Jan. 31.
Shane Power played the part of the sharp-shooting Jimmy Chitwood at the end of that game, sinking four free throws in the final 19 seconds to seal the win.
There is no Bulldog better at bringing up images of a member of Milan High's team which "Hoosiers" is based on for its improbable run to the Indiana state championship than Power.
The 6-foot-5 forward, who sat out last year after transferring from Iowa State, hails from Crown Point, Ind.
Even point guard and co-captain Timmy Bowers isn't shy about bringing up Power's "Hoosier State" hoops pedigree.
The environment he grew up in shaped Power's toughness, much like his basketball skills.
Crown Point is located in the Northwest corner of Indiana, a place as colorful as its nickname The Region.
Located south of Gary, Ind., which is best known for its high violent crime rate, Crown Point is dotted with aging smokestacks, closed factories and boarded-up buildings.
It is also basketball crazy like the rest of the state, and a place where Power dreamed of being in the position he is in now entering the NCAA tournament as a member of a No. 2 seeded team.
He just never dreamed it would be with this team.
Tales of MSU's basketball program are not exactly big in the midwestern state that is home to the University of Indiana, which is missing the tournament for the first time since 1986 this year, and Indiana State University. The Sycamores, powered by Larry Bird, took on Magic Johnson and the rest of Michigan State in 1979.
Yet, like carpetbaggers of old, Power slowly drifted South after deciding to leave Iowa State after his sophomore season.
Power's decision to depart from the Cyclones' program came as a bit of a shock to some, after he started all 31 games and received an All-Big 12 honorable mention in 2002.
Some speculated he grew tired of the intense Larry Eustachy, who was the head coach at Iowa State, but Power has remained tight=lipped about his reasons for leaving, simply saying he doesn't regret his decision.
And the Bulldogs certainly don't regret extending an invitation to Power to join the team.
Power became a fixture in the starting lineup following MSU's loss to Kentucky on Jan. 13. His addition to the starting lineup added another adept ball handler to the floor, with solid scoring punch.
While the season has put Power in the middle of his boyhood dream, he knows it is far from over.
He watched from the sideline last year as the Bulldogs were upset by No. 12 seed Butler, and he was a member of the Iowa State team that was shocked by 15th-seeded Hampton in 2001 in the tournament.
So despite MSU's No. 8 ranking at the end of the season and its No. 2 seed in the tournament, Power points out that it's a new season now and the Bulldogs will have to prove themselves all over again.
Trust him. Indiana boys know basketball.