Freshman Mike Power worked his way up to being on the starting lineup, and now is making sure he stays there.
Mike Power didn’t know exactly when it would happen, but he knew it would happen.
Power, a freshman at Holy Family University, wasn’t content to come into the season, figure out the ins and outs of college basketball and wait his turn. He wanted to get on the court as soon as possible, and it didn’t take him long to make that happen.
“I realized that I had to do something to force (Holy Family coach R.C. Kehoe) to put me in,” said Power, who graduated from Father Judge in June. “I knew it would take a lot of work, but I really wanted to see what I could do. I figured we were all starting from the same spot, we all tried to get minutes. I know it’s tough as a freshman, but I wanted to do everything I could to get out there.”
Power got out there, and now he’s doing things to keep himself out there.
Power has stepped in as the Tigers’ starting point guard and he’s putting up solid numbers. He averages seven points per game while leading the team in assists.
“I somehow got a jump shot, I don’t know where that came from,” Power joked. “I look at it more like I’m just out there to run the offense, but it’s good to score the ball when you have to. When (defenses) leave me open, I have to score so they have to cover me, but I’m just as happy running the offense and getting the other guys involved.”
That was Power’s specialty when he was at Judge.
Last year, he was the starting point guard on a team that also included snipers Marc Rodriguez and Matt O’Connor. Together, they were a big three who led the Crusaders to the Catholic League quarterfinals, where they gave a scare to Archbishop Ryan, which went on to play in the state semifinals.
“Playing at Holy Family is a lot like playing a big Catholic League game,” Power said. “First, every game is important, and second, when you’re playing college basketball, you’re always going up against somebody who is good. There are no bad players, every guy you’re playing against is going to give you problems.”
Power has experience playing tough competition.
Last year, the Catholic League boasted guards such as Archbishop Wood’s Collin Gillespie, who is now playing at Villanova, and Quade Green, a Neumann-Goretti grad who is starting as a freshman at Kentucky.
“I think that helped a lot, playing point guard in the Catholic League,” the Fox Chase resident said. “It’s great to have that because, yeah, the guys I’m going against every night are great, but so were the guys I played last year. The Catholic League really prepares you to play in college, and I think it helps me a lot.”
Power is happy to be getting experience as a freshman, but he would like to see some things change.
The biggest change he’d like to see is his team’s fortunes.
The young Tigers, who don’t have a senior on the roster, are 2–19 on the season. The worst part about losing? The team is a few points away from having a much better record.
“The hardest part is not winning, I’m not used to it, and I don’t think anyone on the team is,” Power said. “I just want to start winning. And we’re in every game. In most of our losses, we have a chance to win. It’s hard when you’re not winning games that you could win.”
That makes it harder to accept, but also makes the TIgers work that much harder.
“You can see we’re getting better, because we’re playing good teams tough,” Power said. “I think we can get better, start to win a few games, and then that will only help us going forward, especially because we have so many young players.”
Power believes he has a great eye for talent, and when he’s not playing at Holy Family, he’s watching two athletes who are very close to his heart.
“My brother, Brady, and my sister, Reese, play a lot of sports and when I have time, I’m watching them,” Power said. “They’re great athletes. My older sister (Morgan) played basketball at Little Flower and she was great. The younger ones are great athletes.
“I’m not sure which one is going to be the better one. My brother is a great football player and basketball player, but my sister is really good, too. Whenever I don’t have a game or practice and they’re playing, I love watching them.”
His siblings aren’t the only thing he’s proud of these days.
Sure, he could be happy that he’s handing out more about four assists per game or that he’s scoring at a higher clip in college than he did for most of his high school career, but he’s happier about another monster number he put up during his first year at Holy Family.
“The best thing? That’s my 3.2 grade point average,” the accounting major said. “I love basketball, but I’m at college to learn, so the biggest thing I have to do well on is grades.
“I think 3.2 is pretty good, I’m taking mostly core classes. My parents, of course, want more, but I’m doing OK. I’m trying to get better.” ••