Have You Seen Her? Armintie Price

As we welcome a new crop of players into the league from last weekís WNBA Draft, we look back at a fresh face from a year ago, who emerged as the brightest star of the 2007 draft class.

Armintie Price was selected by the Chicago Sky with the third overall pick in the draft and the Ole Miss alum made an immediate impact upon her arrival in the Windy City. Price started all 34 games for the Sky and averaged 7.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists on her way to winning the WNBA Rookie of the Year award.

WNBA.comís Brian Martin spoke with Price to dig deeper into her journey from small-town girl from Myrtle, Miss. to WNBA star.

Q. What first got you involved in the game of basketball?

Price: I first started playing in the eighth grade. Actually, one of my friends Ė Megan Robertson Ė asked me to play basketball. I said I donít want to play ball. And she said well letís just play. I said well what number am I going to be? She said Iíll be 23 and youíll be 24. I said okay and we started playing.

Once I got into high school, my mom didnít want me to play because in the Pentecostal religion we donít believe that girls wear shorts or pants or anything like that. So she said you have to wear a skort. I said "Mom, Iím not going out there in a skirt!" She said, "Well then you wonít play." So I came out there and they had my shorts and they put a flap over it. So I played with that on all throughout high school. Then once I got to college, she said it was my choice if I wanted to wear it or not. I said I want to be like everybody else. I still love God if I wear shorts.

I just started taking it more serious once I got into high school. My friend that got me into it, she became a cheerleader, and she stopped playing ball. But I kept playing basketball and just became more into it and thatís how it happened.

Q. Were you involved in any other sports before that?

Price: No, I didnít do anything. I just played kickball in the gym. Once I got into high school, I started running track and we won three state championships in track and then my senior year we won a state championship in basketball.

Q. What events did you do in track?

Price: I did the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400-meter relays, the 200-meter dash, the 100-meter high hurdles and long jump. Iíve never been beaten, man!

Q. When did you feel that you could take you talents to the next level and play collegiate and possibly professional basketball?

Price: I didnít even think anything about college, I was just thinking about playing. My high school coach started talking to me about it. He asked if I wanted to play in school? I was like, "Yeah." "Do you want to play in the SEC?" he asked. I said, "Yeah."

I didnít know anything about the conferences. I didnít know anything about Tennessee and how big they are. I was like, "Mom, I want to go somewhere close." She said that was okay. So we picked Ole Miss. I started playing there and then around my junior year my coach told me that I could maybe be a professional. I was like, "What, a professional basketball player!?!" And she said yeah. Thatís when I started to take it seriously and started to aim toward getting better so Iíd be able to play beyond the college level. Then once I got to my senior year I just had to take over.

Q. Were there any times where it got tough and you thought it may not happen?

Price: Not really. I always felt like whatever God had in mind, it was going to happen. I never wanted to push anything because my mom always said everything happens for a reason. It's like my senior year at Ole Miss, we lost our last home game and I was so mad. You donít lose your last home game! From then on, I was always like whatever happens is meant to be and God didnít bring me this far to leave me.

Q. What else drives you? What other goals have you set for yourself off the court that youíre pursuing?

Price: Iím really a more focused church person, so thatís kind of the main thing that I do. I just spend time with my church. Thatís what I was doing before I got picked. Iíve been telling them to pray for me about rookie of the year and theyíre waiting for me to get back to tell them about everything.

Q. Are there any specific activities that you do in the church?

Price: They have me speak at different things, like the youth exposure program. I sing in the choir and stuff. Itís a small church in Grenada, Mississippi. My pastor is James Timothy Harrington and Iíve been going there since I was a freshman in college so thatís kind of like my home now. I love it there. The kids are like my little sisters and brothers. They donít treat me like "Oh, sheís a WNBA player." They're just like, "Hey girl! Come on, letís eat!"

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