Price Looking at Five Early On

Some look at A.J. Price and have questions as to whether he's a scoring point or a small off-guard. Whatever the case, the Amityville (N.Y.) junior guard is a big-time player.

The 6-2, 175-pound Price has the quickness to score penetrating to the basket and is also one of the top outside shooters in the Class of 2004. He has the ability to play both with the ball in his hands and also off the ball.

``I'm just a guard," he said. "I don't really consider myself a point guard or a two-guard. I'm just a guard."

That's why the list of suitors is so lengthy for Price. N.C. State was one of four schools to go into his school and visit with him last week, along with Villanova, Rutgers and Virginia.

``When they come in and talk to you, you get more out of it because you talk about more than just basketball," said Price, whose father, Tony, played on the Pennsylvania Final Four squad back in 1979.

Price is expecting more visitors this week, including St. John's and possibly North Carolina – a late addition to his list of top schools. The other ones that comprise the top five – in addition to St. John's and the Tar Heels - are the Wolfpack, Rutgers and Virginia.

But from all indications, it might be difficult to pry Price away from the local school, St. John's, which appears to be the favorite right now. With that possibly being the case, the Wolfpack have caught his attention.

``I really like the style of play at N.C. State," Price said. "They get up and down the floor and they don't really have set positions for their players. I really like that a lot."

Price, who averaged 25.4 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists as a junior, still needs to get stronger and work on stepping up his play on the defensive end of the court, but he can score with the best of them. He averaged 19.2 points per game and earned Tournament MVP honors in leading Riverside Church to the title at Boo Williams earlier this month and continued his offensive ways with a strong showing at the Kingwood Classic this past weekend.

In a pair of games we watched him, A.J. averaged 17 points and knocked down five trifectas. In addition to knocking down the outside shot, he was able to use his speed to get past defenders for easy layups and mid-range jumpers.

A.J. Price is a big-time recruit that N.C. State fans should keep an eye on this summer.

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