Without question, Ronnie Price is one of Utah Valley’s most notable and noticed graduates.
As the only basketball player from UVSC to go straight to the NBA from college, Price gets a lot of love around here.
Every game Price has played in Utah during his NBA career has forced him to be the last player on his team to leave the building. Fans, friends and friends of friends flocked to the EnergySolutions Arena floor following the games between the Sacramento Kings and the Utah Jazz.
Fans didn’t know that Price would be in their presence for an even more extended period the next time he played in Utah, as a member of the Utah Jazz. Utah’s first two preseason games may be the best time to catch Price playing meaningful minutes (granted it’s preseason).
Price’s role as a member of the Utah Jazz will be important, but as the third point guard, he may not play the minutes his fans would like to see him play.
Andrei Kirilenko is making most of the Utah Jazz headlines as they began training camp last week in Boise, Idaho, while the former-Wolverine star is flying way below the radar.
But there’s probably a reason why.
As great as it is for UVSC to have Price playing so close to where he dominated college basketball, Price is going to be the Jazz’s third option at his position. And although Price is bigger, shoots better, and is more athletic than Dee Brown, he won’t see much more playing time than the former Jazzman, who will play in Turkey this year and played in 49 games last season.
The time to see Price break out some of his high-flying moves will probably be the two preseason games the Jazz play at the EnergySolutions Arena against Milwaukee Oct. 10, and a week later against Philadelphia.
Price is obviously capable of making plays during the regular season-his dunk against Carlos Boozer is just one that can attest to his ability-but the Jazz have one of the better point guards in the league in Deron Williams and they have also signed another point guard, Price’s former teammate, Jason Hart.
It’s obvious that Williams will be the point guard getting the main, crucial minutes and Hart will end up with the majority of the back-up minutes, which leaves Price on the bench most of the time.
What actually might get Price on the floor more regularly will be his defense. He isn’t big but he’s fast and he’s pesky. The Jazz also gave up quite a few 50-plus point games to some of the leagues best shooting guards last year. Price could help.
Of course, Price could overcome Hart and be the team’s backup. An injury to Hart or Williams could also be good news in Price’s pursuit of minutes on the court.
The logjam at shooting guard doesn’t help Price’s options either. Price has the size to play shooting guard some of the time, but the position will be filled by some combination of Gordon Giricek, Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Miles.
People around the school who have been here and knew Price are excited he is playing for the Jazz. Other Jazz fans will only be excited if Price contributes more than Brown did during his year. After all Brown had fans on his side too.