Ronnie Price’s Basketball Road
Kyle Bruderer | Sports Writer | @ brudkyle
It’s not every day that you see a professional athlete’s profile with Utah Valley University as the college that they played for, but the starting point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers wears that Wolverine green label with pride.
As a senior in high school, Ronnie Price was unable to grab the attention of college recruiters due to his 5’7” frame. Forced to walk on at Nicholls State University, Price averaged nearly 12 points per game as a freshman. By the end of that year Price had grown four inches and transferred schools to join head coach Dick Hunsaker and the Wolverines.
“It was great man, definitely some of the best years of my life,” said Price. “I was able to meet a lot of great people and we’ll be life-long friends. Playing for coach Hunsaker was more than great. Words can’t really express the way he has helped me as a player to be ready to play in the NBA. He has done more than enough for me in my career, I’ll always be grateful for that.”
The 2005 NBA draft came and went without mentioning the name Ronnie Price. Still determined to play in the NBA, Price managed to impress the Sacramento Kings enough to give him a two year contract. Playing against the Utah Jazz in his second season, Price practically leapt out of the building dunking over Carlos Boozer on a fast break. It was one of the top dunks of the year. If you haven’t seen it look it up on YouTube right now, then finish reading this article. You can thank me later.
Price has played for six different franchises to date, but this year is different as he is now the starting point guard for one of the greatest franchises in basketball, the Lakers. There are mixed feelings about the purple and gold jersey. While playing for the Utah Jazz, Price’s path to the finals was ended by the Lakers three times.
“This is a team that ended my season three years in a row. In Utah we had a great team that was fighting for a championship but unfortunately we came across the Lakers and they were better than us,” said Price. “The Lakers were one of the teams I hated most, but I’m happy to be on their side and not competing against them.”
During his career, Price has had the opportunity to play alongside NBA greats such as Grant Hill, Steve Nash, and Kobe Bryant.
“There’s a reason why guys like Kobe, Steve Nash, and Grant Hill are so good and can play that long because they put the work in,” said Price. “Being around Kobe though is a totally different experience. You hear about people who are elite and great beyond measure at what they do, but to hear about it and to see it are two different things. I’m learning as much as I can from him, and maybe I’ll steal a few things out of his bag of tricks to prolong my career.”
Price has played in the NBA for a decade and has proved a lot of doubters wrong along the way. It doesn’t sound like he is stopping anytime soon either.
“A lot of people may not have expected me to play in the NBA or to play as long as I have and I wanted to face those challenges,” said Price. “I’m always up for a challenge. I haven’t conquered all of my goals but I’m still playing and I still have a chance to reach them.”