Chris Price might not be a household name in the world of lacrosse.
Many people might not even know who he is. He admits as much.
However, Nat St. Laurent, head coach of the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) Redwoods, does know Price's name, and he called it Wednesday evening, turning the Lambert grad and High Point defender into a professional lacrosse player with the 13th overall pick in the league’s 2020 college draft.
“Coming from a nontraditional hotbed, like Duke or UNC, a lot of people doubt me. A lot of people don’t really know who I am yet,” Price said. “The other night, when they heard my name get called, they might’ve questioned, ‘Who even is he?’ But I’m just going to use that motivation to prove them wrong and play to the best of my ability day in and day out.”
Price was a key part of Lambert’s championship team in 2016, when the Longhorns capped their undefeated season with a 6-3 win against Lassiter in the Class 6A state championship.
Then last year, Price helped High Point to its best season in school history, finishing 13-3 and picking up monumental wins over traditional powers Duke and Virginia.
Price figures to be one in just a handful of PLL players from below the Mason-Dixon Line when the league opens play July 25.
“It means a ton,” Price said of being selected by the Redwoods. “I’m very fortunate and blessed to have gone to High Point University and had a coach like Jon Torpey, who has had my back day in and day out. I know he helped me in the process of getting drafted, and I can’t thank him enough.”
The PLL is a second-year professional lacrosse league featuring seven teams.
The league, which partnered with NBC Sports, made a splash in the sports world earlier this month when it announced the PLL Championship Series, a two-week season that will begin in late July and run into August.
The seven teams will each play a 14-game schedule, with the results determining seeding for a single-elimination tournament, culminating with the league’s championship game on Aug. 9.
The PLL will choose a host site for the season and plans to play in an empty stadium.
“I’ve never played in front of no fans before, so it’s definitely going to be different,” Price said. “I’ve practiced day in and day out in front of no fans, so I guess it’ll feel more like practice than an actual game, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Price, who majored in business administration at High Point, landed a job in Nashville, Tennessee, and said he will start on June 15.
“I’m still figuring that our right now with my employer, but I have the hopes to of course go wherever the league is located,” Price said. “They haven’t announced exactly where it’s been located this summer, but I know it’s at one location and it’s fully quarantined with no fans.”
“I think if I didn’t have my last season taken away, I would have beat him by a little bit. It’s special. I know Zack’s pretty proud of me, and I was proud of him when he got drafted to play in Major League Lacrosse (MLL). I followed his footsteps; he’s the reason I went to High Point. Now I guess I’m following his footsteps again playing professionally.”Chris Price, Lambert alum
Price is the second member of his family to be drafted into a professional lacrosse league, joining his older brother, Zack Price, who was selected by the Denver Outlaws of Major League Lacrosse after a decorated career at High Point.
In fact, the Price brothers are tied with each other for most career goals (5) and points (8) by a defender in High Point history.
“I think if I didn’t have my last season taken away, I would have beat him by a little bit,” Price said. “It’s special. I know Zack’s pretty proud of me, and I was proud of him when he got drafted to play in Major League Lacrosse (MLL). I followed his footsteps; he’s the reason I went to High Point. Now I guess I’m following his footsteps again playing professionally.”
Zack has played for several MLL teams since being drafted in 2017, including the Atlanta Blaze in 2019.
After redshirting as a freshman, Chris appeared in all 14 games for High Point in 2018, ultimately becoming a fixture in the Panthers’ starting lineup last year as a redshirt sophomore.
It was his game-winning goal against Virginia last season that allowed High Point to topple the then-No. 9 Cavaliers.
The win came just 12 days after High Point stunned No. 2 Duke, 13-9 — both wins coming on the road.
“It’s very special, and it’s something that High Point had never done before,” Price said. “They’d come close to winning those tight games against the top teams in the country.”
Price was a middie his first two seasons at Lambert before switching to defense. He remembers feeling like a natural fit at defender, and by the end of his Lambert career, he was an All-American.
“I probably wouldn’t have gotten any recognition in college, or even gone to play college lacrosse, if I didn’t switch positions,” Price said. “Coach (Jason) Breyo, who used to be a Lambert coach, and Coach (Rick) Lewis, who I think still is the Lambert defensive coordinator, they helped me out big time in my fundamentals and training me to become the best.
“That summer in between, I took a lot of time out to definitely hone in on the fundamentals of defense and be the best player that I possibly could.”
Only four years removed from that state championship season, Price believes his best lacrosse is in front of him.
And he’s thankful for the opportunity to prove it.
“I only played 2 1/2 years of college lacrosse because I redshirted my freshman year and my senior year got taken away from me,” Price said. “I didn’t have much time, but I still have a lot left in the tank and I’m just looking forward to this experience.”