December 22, 2009 2:43:00 PM
STARKVILLE -- There''s nothing Baxter Price would like more than to see Mississippi State''s basketball team get a big lead against Centenary tonight.
As a walk-on with the Bulldogs, that scenario might be the only way Price will get to play and have a chance to score points in front of family and friends at Mississippi Coliseum.
The freshman from Brandon, who attended Northwest Rankin High School, said it would be special if he was to receive playing time at 7 tonight when MSU plays in the capital city.
Price wants to make sure he''s not selfish and the Bulldogs take care of business before the coaching staff considers putting him into the game.
"I just want to win for the team," Price said. "Being around my hometown and being from that area, (playing) would make it better."
Price expects to have members of his immediate family in attendance, and maybe some former coaches and teammates.
When it came time to chose a college, Price knew he wanted to attend MSU. He said playing basketball "really just worked itself out."
Joining Price as walk-ons this season are freshman Charles Parker and sophomores Taylor Luczak and Brandon Bolen. Bolen is sitting out the season as a redshirt, but still helps get the team prepared in practice.
MSU coach Rick Stansbury likes to reward walk-ons with playing time at the end of blowouts because they contribute every day.
"Those guys have a big role in what we do every day," Stansbury said. "As the scout team, they are that team that takes on the role of that opposing team you are getting ready to play against. You can''t be successful without those kind of guys. We''re blessed with four good ones."
When Price and the other walk-ons do play, the veterans cheer them on and seem to have as much satisfaction seeing them do well as they do when they''re in the game.
"You always like to see them getting playing time because that means we are winning," MSU senior guard Barry Stewart said. "They definitely earned those minutes because a lot is asked of them to get us ready to play."
Price calls it "an honor" to be involved with the Bulldogs.
"We help them out anyway we possibly can," Price said. "Our routine is basically the same as everyone else. Practice is the same. We go through the same exact drills.
"Sometimes we split up into the gold team, run other team''s sets, and try to help out the actual starting group."
Price said the Bulldogs (9-2) are playing well as a team.
"We''re starting to find how we click," Price said. "The two losses we had, instead of getting ourselves down, we learned from them, and I think we got a little bit better from them and are using those to improve as a team, and now we''re starting to find our niche and starting to play a lot better."
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