By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — Port Charlotte basketball coach Bill Specht joked with an 11-year-old Sean Price that he would one day be a Pirate.
Although it’s strange imagining Price, who finished his high school career fifth all-time in scoring for Port Charlotte with 1,478 points, in anything but black and red, there almost was a chance he would’ve donned different colors.
“He didn’t want to go here at first. He wanted to go where his friends were going,” Price’s father, Sean Price Sr. said. “I knew coach (Bill) Specht was a good disciplinary coach and would keep him in line. I wouldn’t have sent him any other place.”
Price Sr., just like his son, was one of the greatest players in the history of Port Charlotte basketball. And also just like his son, was coached by Specht.
The 22-year Port Charlotte coach was happy to have a second Price on his team, even if it was a reminder of his age. To Specht, coaching junior was eerily similar to coaching senior.
“It means I’m getting old, I guess,” Specht said. “I think the reason Sean Jr. came here was because I coached his dad. He could’ve gone to many different schools. They both had very similar personalities, they’re both very competitive and they’re both very good basketball players. You could see a lot of Sean Jr. in Sean Sr., and that was kind of neat to coach both of them.”
Even though younger Price may have been hesitant at first to attend Port Charlotte, he’d been watching Pirates basketball nearly his whole life. Some of his younger memories of being introduced to Port Charlotte came when he watched something on an ancient device called a VCR.
“I found some tapes from Port Charlotte and I watched him do some crazy things,” Price Jr. said of his father. “I always saw my dad’s achievements and his accolades, and I wanted to top those. To be able to do those was a blessing.”
The younger Price did something not only his father never did, but nobody in the last quarter of a century (or possibly ever) at Port Charlotte has ever done — win a district championship in each of his four years in high school.
As a senior, Price led the Pirates to a fourth straight district title with an area-best 22.2 points and 9.8 rebounds, and was deservedly a repeat winner of The Sun’s boys basketball player of the year title.
“Freshman year, after we won the first won, I told my dad I wanted to win all four,” Price Jr. said. “It was a memorable moment to win it (the first time).”
Specht isn’t surprised the younger Price was the first player he coached to achieve that feat.
“That shows how much of a competitor he is and how much of a team player he is,” Specht said. “It’s hard to do that in any sport. In basketball, we’ve had very competitive districts and he was a huge part of all four (titles). It’s not like he was the eighth or ninth guy the first couple of years, he was our sixth guy. He’s been a big part of all four.”
Price will be trading in his red and black uniform for a blue and gold one as he heads to South Carolina, where he recently signed to play for Charleston Southern.
It appears as if Price is set for some significant playing time as a freshman, so it’ll be nothing new for him when he makes a big impact on a team all four years at the school.
THE PRICE FILE
Siblings: Destin and Laela Price
Intended major: Kinesiology
Favorite food: Chicken pasta
Favorite subject: Math
Least favorite subject: English
Favorite non-basketball sport: Football
F: Will Batts
Senior • Charlotte
Elevated his game as the season progressed and was a huge reason the Tarpons were in a position to potentially win a district championship. He finished the year with 8.5 points per game and second in the area with 7.3 rebounds.
G: Zach Babut
Senior • North Port
On a team where stats were fairly even, Babut’s hustle separated him. By the end of the season, he found his way into the top 10 in the area in points (8.5 per game, 10th), rebounds (4.6 per game, 7th) and assists (3.7, 2nd).
G: Shemar Fleurrisant
Sophomore • Port Charlotte
Quickly established himself as a scoring threat playing side by side with the area player of the year. Fleurissant was fifth in the area in scoring with 12.4 points per game and also averaged 4.5 boards a night.
G: Ahmad Johnson
Sophomore • Charlotte
When teammate Mackengie Simon went down with an injury, Johnson stepped up and filled the scoring-threat role the Tarpons needed. He was No. 3 in the area in scoring with 13.8 points per game while averaging 5.8 rebounds.
F: Hayden Wolff
Sophomore • Lemon Bay
By the end of the year, Wolff was a threat to go off for 25 points and 10 rebounds on any given night. As a huge – literally and figuratively – threat in the paint, the 6-foot-6 post finished 12th-best in the area with 8.5 points and third with 7.2 rebounds.
G: Keegan Wyman
Junior • Lemon Bay
The Manta Rays were a significantly improved squad this season, in no small part because of Wyman being the team’s top scoring threat. His 14.9 points per game led Lemon Bay and were good enough for second in the area.
** all stat rankings are of players with a minimum 20 games played.
Charlotte: Mackengie Simon, Makai Reaves, Jake Haas
Lemon Bay: Cade Huber, Tyler Caron, Jake Comer
North Port: Bryan O’Boyle, Ben Via, Brandon Graff, Gene Oliver
Port Charlotte: Klayton Morris, Brandon Gainey