June 11, 2009
Danny P Smith -
The easy part was the wait for Mississippi State junior first baseball Conner Powers.
Now comes the decision.
The Los Angeles Dodgers selected Powers in the 11th round Wednesday in the Major League Baseball''s First-Year Player Draft.
Now Powers has to determine if he''s ready for a professional career.
"Hopefully we can work something out over the next couple of days, but it''s probably a bit premature to say I''m definitely going (to the Dodgers)," Powers said.
Powers thought he might go a little higher than the 337th overall pick, but knows the draft is unpredictable. He thanked the Dodgers for taking a chance on him.
"The Dodgers are a great organization," Powers said. "I''m happy to be going to an organization like that. You never really know what is going on with the draft. Some get picked where they are supposed to and others don''t."
Powers had 19 home runs (fifth in the Southeastern Conference), a .668 slugging percentage (seventh in the SEC), scored 49 runs, and had 15 doubles and 63 RBIs this season.
His power numbers grew each year from eight as a freshman to 11 as a sophomore.
After two seasons at third base, Powers transitioned to first base this season and made only one error.
Powers believes the experience of playing in front of big crowds at Dudy Noble Field and for coaches Ron Polk and John Cohen have helped get him ready for the pros.
"That has helped me get to the level where I am," Powers said. "The Dodgers think I''m ready to go. It''s been a great experience."
Two MSU signees also were drafted Wednesday.
The Chicago Cubs selected Howard (Texas) Junior College outfielder Runey Davis in the 12th round (380th overall), while the Texas Rangers picked Cleburne County (Heflin, Ala.) High School pitcher C.C. Watson in the 29th round (874th overall).
MSU football signees Billy Hamilton, of Taylorsville High, was drafted in the second round Tuesday by the Cincinnati Reds.
UCLA to be scheduled
Although the 2009-10 MSU basketball schedule hasn''t been released, there are plans in the works to add UCLA as a neutral-site opponent.
The Bulldogs are expected to play the Bruins on Dec. 12 in the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., as part of the John Wooden Classic.
MSU Associate Athletic Director for Scheduling Scott Stricklin couldn''t confirm the addition of UCLA to the schedule, but he said the school is always looking for ways to beef up the slate.
"We''re making an attempt to find some high-profile games to participate in and strengthen our schedule," Stricklin said. "All scheduling is a challenge, and basketball scheduling is that way, but we''re always looking for opportunities to get ourselves exposure by playing high-profile opponents."
The only other time MSU has played UCLA was in the 1995 NCAA tournament. UCLA won 86-67 in the Sweet 16.
MSU Athletic Director Greg Byrne underwent a minor medical procedure Wednesday afternoon to remove a mole from his chest that contained melanoma.
"I made it through with no problem," Byrne said.
Byrne, who planned to take the rest of the day off and resume his athletic director responsibilities this morning, is expected to make a full recovery.
The diagnosis for Byrne''s mole was at a stage one, which meant the cancer hadn''t spread to lymph nodes and remained localized. No other problem was anticipated.
Today is the one-year anniversary of Byrne''s hiring as the school''s athletic director.
Q: Can a current student-athlete come and speak to an organization?
A: It may be permissible for student-athletes to speak to charitable organizations. Please contact Ann Carr, senior associate athletic director for women''s sports and student-athlete services, at firstname.lastname@example.org