Is former Syracuse University All-America attackman Michael Powell serious about avoiding the professional playing field this summer? The Baltimore Bayhawks are about to find out.
Bayhawks general manager Jay Pivec, who made Powell the No. 1 pick in the Major League Lacrosse draft one month ago, aims to get a definitive answer from the former Orange superstar next week. Pivec said he plans to add Powell to the team's 23-man active roster Monday.
Powell, who has been pursuing endorsement deals and spent last week working at a lacrosse camp in Denver, did not return phone calls. Before leading Syracuse to its ninth Division I title nearly five weeks ago at M&T Bank Stadium, Powell said he was burned out from playing the sport year-round since elementary school.
Pivec, who met with Powell after the draft and has communicated with him sporadically via phone or e-mail since then, said he hopes to see Powell in a Bayhawks uniform for the team's July 10 game against the visiting Rochester Rattlers. Larry Powell, Michael's father, said his son has reiterated his desire to retire from the game temporarily.
"[Powell] has never told me that he's not going to play," said Pivec, whose club owns Powell's contract rights. "I've been trying the soft sell and leaving him alone. He wanted to take some time off. We've dealt with burnout issues before with other players. The bottom line is he'll be activated on July 5, and we expect him to be here."
"I don't think he's going to play this year," said Larry Powell, reached at his home in West Carthage, N.Y. "That's the feeling I'm getting from him. He's pretty well burned out, you know."
Powell, who has yet to sign an MLL contract, finished his decorated Syracuse career by setting a school record with 307 career points. He also became the first player in school history - and only the fourth in the sport's history - to be named a first-team All-American four times.
Shortly after scoring the game-winning goal and getting five assists to lift the Orange to a 14-13 victory over Navy in the NCAA final, Powell won his second TewaaratonTrophy, awarded to the nation's top collegiate player.
Pivec is eagerly anticipating the addition of the 5-foot-10 Powell to a Bayhawks offense that is averaging 17.5 goals and includes Gary Gait (25 points), Mark Millon (27 points) and Mark Frye (20 points).
"I think [Powell] would complement our offense to the point where I don't know where [the defense] would slide to," said Pivec, whose team is 3-2 and leading the league's three-team National Division. "We think he's the guy of the future who we could build our team around. We're very anxious to see him in blue and gray."