Lehigh senior guard Austin Price bows his head during the national anthem before Lehigh's game against Boston University on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, in Stabler Arena. Price is averaging 12.7 points per game this season. (Erik Thomas/B&W Staff)

The Price is right: Austin Price achieving success for Lehigh men’s basketball


Senior Austin Price was the player recruited by the Lehigh men’s basketball program to help fill the void left by NBA star C.J. McCollum, ’13. Although it’s difficult to live up to McCollum’s standards, Price has produced an illustrious career of his own.

“I already knew how good (McCollum) was because he played against my high school so I’d seen his film,” Price said. “I wasn’t worried about being as good as him but more about being as good of a player as I could be.”

The ability to consistently make perimeter shots has allowed Price to achieve success. Among some of these achievements are third team All-Patriot League, eclipsing 1,000 career points and being named a finalist for the Senior Class Award.

Price originally grew up in Indiana but moved to Detroit when he was a sophomore in high school because his grandmother became ill. He attended Detroit Country Day School, where he was a two-year starter, and helped lead his team to a state championship his senior year.

“(Price) came from a good high school program that has produced a lot of NBA players,” associate head coach Antoni Wyche said. “He brings a high basketball IQ with a winning tradition.”

During his recruiting process, Price said Lehigh coach Brett Reed saw him score a lot of points in a game against a team that featured a few future McDonald’s All-Americans. The following weekend, Reed called Price to invite him on a visit to Lehigh.

“I ultimately chose Lehigh because it had the best academics as well as basketball of the schools I was looking at,” Price said.

While on his visit, Price got to meet the Lehigh team that upset Duke in the NCAA Tournament in 2012. He was also joined on his visit by future teammate, senior Tim Kempton. Price said going on his visit with Kempton somewhat influenced his decision to choose Lehigh as well.

“It’s been fun growing up with (Price) throughout my college career,” Kempton said. “Ever since we committed together it’s been us from the beginning.”

Since Price and his fellow commits were replacing Lehigh’s most accomplished class, the coaching staff had high expectations of them coming in.

“We knew we had recruited talent who could step in right away,” Wyche said. “We expected Price and Kempton to start as freshmen and learn from experience early on.”

Price attributes his ability to handle expectations to his family members. Two of Price’s uncles played basketball at the University of Notre Dame and Purdue University while his brother plays at Georgia Tech. So playing Division I basketball was something he expected for his future since he’d been around the game all his life.

Price’s career has been a growing process. He believes he has improved a lot as a player under Reed and the rest of the Mountain Hawk staff. Throughout his years, the team has continued to improve despite early struggles.

“I thought we were going to win right away, but I realized with this team, it’s a building process because they had lost so many good players the year before,” Price said. “I’ve realized it takes more than one or two really good players to build a good team.”

On the court, Price believes his anticipation of plays has greatly improved and with this, his overall basketball IQ. His improved physical strength is what Price thinks has made the biggest difference in his college career. His coaches would also describe him as a versatile player who they place a lot of trust in.

“Our teams haven’t been that deep in the past, so we’ve had to ask him to do a lot of things,” Wyche said. “Sometimes we need him to score 20 points and sometimes we need him to shut down the other team’s best defender.”

Wyche believes Price is a key factor to the team’s overall success this year. He doesn’t have to be the star McCollum was, but the team knows he’s still a key asset.

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