Fittingly, Price is a success at hoops Switching courts: The All-Metro junior volleyball player also has become the leader on the basketball court for No. 8 Centennial.

January 21, 1996|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Meredith Price practiced basketball last Wednesday dressed in a volleyball T-shirt and Centennial basketball shorts.

It was the perfect outfit.

Price, an All-Metro volleyball player, has blossomed this season as a basketball player. The 5-foot-11 junior is averaging 15.6 points and 8.2 rebounds for the No. 8 Eagles, who are 9-1 overall and 3-0 in the county and tied for first place.

Her success, however, has caused a slight problem.

Just ask her what her favorite sport is.

"I always would have said volleyball," Price said. "But I'm really enjoying basketball this year. Right now I'm torn. It was going to be so easy, but not anymore."

Price is used to choosing between sports. She's played soccer, softball and tennis and was a diving champion at the age of 9. She gave them all up.

She began playing volleyball in eighth grade for the Columbia Volleyball Club. This year, she joined the Metro Volleyball Club and between now and June will travel to Milwaukee, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Colorado and Chicago for weekend tournaments. A trip to San Jose, Calif., where she was born, also is possible.

Two years ago, she went to a volleyball camp in California for two weeks. Last summer, she attended volleyball camps in Florida and Texas.

"She's definitely put more time into volleyball," said Centennial girls basketball coach Dave Greenberg. "I think she's a scholarship volleyball player, but I think she could be a scholarship basketball player. She's well on her way to becoming just that. And if she puts time into basketball, I believe she'll have that option also."

Said Price: "He just wants me to keep my options open and that's what I'm trying to do."

To her credit, Price is managing to play both sports well and maintain her 4.0 GPA. She travels to Silver Spring twice a week for volleyball practice after either a basketball practice or a game. On those nights, she doesn't get home until after 10:30 p.m.

"I think she's really trying to be fair to both sports," Greenberg said.

Price is one of the area's top hitters in volleyball. When the Eagles, who won state titles her freshman and sophomore years and reached the regional finals this season, needed a point or side out, they looked to Price.

It's the same now in basketball.

"My concern this season was: Are we going to be able to score?" Greenberg said. "Meredith has really helped us out in that area by being able to finish things. She's really become a force for us."

But Greenberg is quick to point out that Price is not a one-dimensional player.

"She plays both ends," said Greenberg, in his second year at Centennial after 16 years and six state titles at Mount Hebron. "That's one of the big things. She doesn't play just offense."

Like the rest of Centennial's young and up-and-coming team, Price has a terrific work ethic. She is a naturally gifted athlete who is willing to do whatever it takes to improve.

"She's improved because she really tries to do what she's asked to do," Greenberg said.

Price returned this season as the team's leading scorer (eight-point average) and rebounder (6.5). She admits to being "a little surprised" with her success.

"Last year, Kish [Jordan, 22 ppg] had the shots all by herself," said Price. "As a team, we're all figuring out this year what we can do. A lot of things are starting to click."

And while Greenberg stresses the fact that "we're team oriented," he admits that Price "certainly has spearheaded the effort."

Price credits Greenberg with not only improving her game, but her outlook on basketball. The Eagles were 2-20 her freshman season and last year went 11-11.

"When you're 2-20 you wonder if you want to play," said Price, who finds time to attend at least one basketball camp during the summer. "He got us excited about the sport. He got us inspired to play."

He certainly has Price believing in herself.

In basketball, that is.

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