Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday Where Are They Now?: Hollis Price

Ever wonder what happened to those college stars that couldn't catch on in the NBA? The guys that put up the great numbers or the guys that left early, and were never heard from again? Every Wednesday, we at BIAH will take a look at a former college star that never made it in the NBA, and we will update you on where he is playing or what he is doing. We're guessing the results will surprise you. To request a player, leave a comment in the comments section.

Hollis Price, Oklahoma

Hollis Price did not have it easy growing up. Price was raised in the now-demolished Desire projects in New Orleans 9th ward (the same projects that Marshall Faulk grew up in), sleeping on his grandparents couch because his mom was in and out of his life, constantly battling drug addiction. From a young age, Price's grandparents instilled a work-ethic, a toughness, and a sense of worth in himself, which was only enforced when they enrolled him at St. Augustine High School (a high school which allowed corporal punishment, aka a paddling if you misbehave). Price failed off the team as a freshman, but eventually he was straightened out by the strict rules of St. Augustine's, the high school that produced NBA players Kerry Kittles and Avery Johnson. By the end of his sophomore year, Price was starting and during his senior season, he and Sooner teammate Quannas White led St. Augustine's to a state title.

Price was one of Kelvin Sampson's favorite players from day one, as Price epitomized the toughness and leadership that Sampson demands from his team and his players. As a freshman, Price worked his way into the starting line-up (20 of the last 21 games) thanks to his tremendous defensive ability (47 steals) and his point guard play (averaged 3.5 apg with a 1.9 a/to ratio), which earned him a spot on the Big XII all-freshman team. The Sooners reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. As a sophomore, Price developed into one of the best point guards in the Big XII. He led the team in assists (4.7), minutes (33.2), and steals (1.9) while also scoring 11.8 ppg. Price's toughness was on display during that season as he played through many aches and pains, none more so than the one he suffered in the NCAA tournament. In OU's first round loss to Indiana State, Price tore his triceps on the teeth of one of the ISU players, an injury that required three surgeries during the off-season, but returned later in the game. The injury was so bad, that given the severity of the tear, if it had happened only a few centimeters closer to the nerve, his arm would have been amputated (I didn't believe it either, but read this).

Price's junior year he was asked to change roles a bit, becoming more of a scorer than a point guard (mainly a result of the addition of former St. Augustine teammate and point guard White). While his assists dipped to 2.7 apg, his scoring increased to 16.5 ppg while also improving his overall shooting (43% to 46%) and his three point shooting (from 38 3's at 34% to 84 3's at 38%). He helped lead Oklahoma to the Final Four that year, where they lost to Indiana. Price was named MVP of the Big XII tournament as well as MVP of the West Region in the NCAA tournament. As a senior, Price's scoring again increased, to 18.0 ppg, as he led the Sooners to a #1 seed in the NCAA's. They reached the Elite 8, where they lost to eventual National Champions Carmelo Anthony and the Syracuse Orange. Price was named a second team all-american by the AP and a first team all-american by the USBWA and the Sporting News.

Price didn't get drafted that summer, but managed to latch on with the Cleveland Cavaliers summer league team, although he he didn't make their roster. He ended up signing with Le Mans in the French league, where he would play for two seasons, averaging 13.4 ppg and 5.4 apg in 2003-04 and 12.3 ppg and 4.0 apg in 2004-05. Both years, the team reached the ULEB Cup, although Price did not play as well (11.5 ppg and 7.7 ppg, respectively). In the summer of 2005, Price played with the Rockets summer league team (as he would in 2006) but, again, nothing would come of it. During the 2005-06 season, Price played with Alba Berlin where he averaged 15.0 ppg and 5.0 apg and again reached the ULEB Cup, but once again struggled at the end of the season, averaging just 12.9 ppg and 3.0 apg in ULEB play. In 2006-07, Price played for Caja San Fernando in the ACB (Spain), where he averaged 10.8 ppg and 3.6 apg.

Last year, Price signed with Lietuvos Rytas in Lithuania, where he averaged 8.7 ppg and 3.0 apg during the Lithuanian season, but Rytas reached the Euroleague, where Price was the sixth leading scorer at 16.9 ppg. During the season, however, Price was a victim of a racially motivated attack. Apparently, at 10 pm on Nov. 26th in Vilnius, Price was jumped by three skinheads, thrown to the ground, and beaten before bystanders broke it up. Price didn't sustain any serious injuries, but was limited to just eight minutes in his next game.

Price has signed with Dynamo Moscow of the Russian League, where he will be teamed with former Minnesota Golden Gopher Ariel McDonald, Travis Hansen from BYU (remember the bleached blonde guy?), and former NBA players Bostjan Nachbar and Jannero Pargo.

1 comment:

Danny said...

It's amazing to me how many of these former stars are making a living playing basketball overseas. I always just thought when they didn't make the NBA they were just selling drugs or being gas station attendants. Who knew?