At the start of each season, Parkdale Coach Tremaine Price takes time to remember one of his favorite quotes from his college coach at George Mason, Jim Larranaga: “Begin with the end in mind.”
That’s why, even coming off a seven-win 2011-2012 season, Price made sure he talked a bit with his players about what it was like to represent the Riverdale school in the 1997 Maryland 4A final at Cole Field House. The Panthers haven’t been back to the state tournament since they fell in overtime to Southwestern with the state title on the line during Price’s senior season.
Though it’s still early, Parkdale has at least begun to create buzz around the county mostly absent since Price’s playing days. Boosted by several newcomers, the No. 20 Panthers have started 4-0 with wins over perennial county powers C.H. Flowers and Bowie.
“We have a winning pedigree,” said Price, who also has a pair of assistants on staff who played with him in high school. “We’re just trying to get the kids to believe in that winning spirit.”
A year ago, Parkdale lost its first eight games and didn’t record a win until after Christmas. This time around, the Panthers have benefitted from the addition of a pair of gifted scorers in senior Cameron Thurston and sophomore Kaine Wilson and currently join No. 7 Eleanor Roosevelt (4-0) as the lone unbeaten Prince George’s 4A squads.
Thurston, a Riverdale Baptist transfer, came to many of the team’s games last year to cheer on his friends and Price found out just weeks before the start of preseason practices that Thurston would suit up for the Panthers this season. The 6-foot-3 guard has averaged 15 points per game.
Price expected Wilson to contribute last season after the 6-foot-1 guard led the team in summer league scoring prior to his freshman year, but he ended up academically ineligible and missed the season. After working hard to improve his grades, Wilson leads the team in scoring with 19 points per game, including a 28-point effort in the season-opening 72-68 win over Bowie.
Parkdale also brought back junior point guard Adrian Winslow and 6-foot-6 junior center Emmanuel Nwude, and Price said he has the deepest lineup since he took over at his alma mater in 2008. The future is bright as Thurston is the only senior to record a field goal for the Panthers through four games.
“I know what [a winning basketball team] can do for this school’s morale,” Price said. “Right now, I’ll say we do have a little buzz. We really haven’t accomplished much yet so I want to stay humble, but I want us to enjoy the victories and keep working hard at practice, enjoying the competition.”