UCLA commit keeping his options open

A year and a half after creating a stir by committing to UCLA the summer before his freshman year at Mater Dei (Calif.), sophomore small forward Taylor King remains committed to the Bruins.

But that doesn't necessarily mean his mind is made up.

"He really likes UCLA and he's very committed to UCLA," says Steve King, Taylor's father. "But he will always keep his options opened because you never know what's going to happen in the next three years."

According to Steve, Taylor also likes Washington, Arizona, Syracuse, North Carolina and Florida, amongst other programs. Skipping college for the NBA is also a possibility.

"It's hard to predict what will be the best fit," Steve says. "You really have to look at the classes these programs bring in from this year and the next year."

A 6-foot-7, 200-pound small forward with a 7-foot wingspan, Taylor King is rated the No. 2 recruit in the Class of 2007 by SchoolSports.com. He's a big-time scorer with a deadly left-handed jumper and a high basketball IQ.

King, who has worked extensively on his inside game during the past year, averaged 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds per game as a freshman.

So, if King decides to re-open his commitment, is he a guy Arizona should pursue? On the surface you'd love to land a player who is rated so high, but is he a good fit?

Two years ago when we first saw King he was impressive. He looked like he could develop into a bigger version of Jason Kapono. He was not the most fleet-footed player, but he could stroke it. He was athletic enough to keep defenders honest, but was not good enough to consistently score inside.

This summer his progress seemed to slow a bit. Although we did not pay as much attention because of the UCLA commitment, he did not blow us away. He looked like a solid player, but he rarely took over games. His shot was not as consistent, but he did do more things inside.

If King truly opens his recruitment then he would be an interesting target. Although he is listed as a small forward he still has the growth potential to be a combo-forward. He's a great shooter, despite the slump in the tournament we saw and he could grow to the 6-9 range. You'd have to make sure that he is fleet enough to excel in the Arizona system, but by the time he gets on campus he should be quicker than either Ricky Anderson or Luke Walton were, and both of those guys fit in just fine.

Some worry about a player who backs out of a pledge, but you really can't fault King. He committed to Ben Howland and UCLA before he had even played a high school game and before Howland had taken the court for the Bruins.

A bigger worry could be the NBA. If King continues to develop like many think he can, then the NBA could be a concern. Right now it looks like King could probably use a few years of college before he is ready to make a splash on draft day.

If King remains committed to UCLA this is all a moot discussion. More than likely that is the way this is going to play out. If Howland continues to have success in Westwood, you'd have to assume that King stays true to his word. However, if the turnaround is a little slower than some expect, King could be on the market.

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