Price rising

MHS happy with senior’s stat inflation


For The Dominion Post

Any team that faces the fourth-ranked Morgantown High boys’ basketball team this year will have to put together a game plan for what head coach Tom Yester calls the “gentle giant” — Taylor Price.

Considered gentle in part because of his cool, calm and collected demeanor on the floor, Price, has no problem making his presence felt and heard.

The word “gentle” may not be the best choice to describe a dominant big man, but in Price’s case it is in no way taking a jab at the way he plays the game of basketball.

Some leaders are authoritative, some very vocal, while others possess the skills necessary to let their game do all the talking for them.

There is no better exhibit of what it means to lead by example than the 6-foot-5, 230-pound senior. In what has been considered his breakout season, Taylor hasn’t been shy about letting his opponents know just who he is, averaging career highs of 15.3 points and six rebounds per game.

You’re probably thinking you should have heard of Price and his abilities by now. Chances are, many people didn’t know him before this season, but are now getting well acquainted with the center who pins most of his recent success to an emerging dedication in the weight room.

“He’s averaging about twice as much as he was last year,” Yester said. “He finally got serious about the weight room within the last two years. Compared to where he was, he got a lot more committed in there. From his stretching routine to his ability to run, being in the best shape he’s probably ever been in, he has no problem running up and down the court.”

Then it all seems to make more sense, and you realize why more teams have to deal with Price and all the trouble he brings his opponents.

The label “Big Man” for the center position is often loosely used; sometimes a player merely meets the height requirement.

In years past, that may have been the case for Price. But with his strength at an all-time high, his endurance peaking and his confidence glowing, there’s no telling how good Price can become when he puts his mind to it — in the classroom, too. His cumulative GPA is a 3.75 and he plans to major in engineering in college.

There is no question Price is starting to reach his potential as a low post player. He shoots 56 percent from the field and 82 percent from the free throw line — he’s been there more than 60 times this season.

The Mohigans have leaned more on Price this year than ever before, especially on offense, where he is becoming more comfortable as each game passes.

“My offensive presence is something I’ve been able to bring to the team this year, and at times my team may lean on my shoulders to get things started,” he said. “I try to lead by example, on the court and off the court, and that way I can influence my teammates to do the right thing.”

While some teams might have a “big man” who doesn’t want to run the floor, this is not the case with Price. He will be the first to tell you that he may not be the fastest in getting up and down the court, but he has no problem doing it. He prefers an up-tempo offense, seeing as the Mohigans have been so successful with this “get it and go” style of play this season.

“Honestly, I like to push the ball; I think our team is best in transition. I think we’re one of the best in the northern part of the state at doing that,” Price said. “When we push it and I’m able to finish with a fast break layup or dunk, it helps our offense and keeps the game exciting. At the beginning of the year, my conditioning was at times a problem, and we didn’t run as much then as we are now, but being in midseason form, my body is getting to a point where I’m capable of running enough to get done what we’re trying to get accomplished.”

Taking none of his abilities for granted, Price gives all his thanks to God, and said, “I give all glory to God, I put everything in his hands.”

Bob Gay/The Dominion Post file photo

Taylor Price averages 15.3 points and six rebounds per game for Morgantown.