Better late than never. These four words may not carry any significance to the average person. To Colorado freshman George King, better late than never is what landed him in Boulder. But to understand King's path to Colorado, you have to start at his hometown of San Antonio.
During his senior year, King led Brennan High School to a 39-3 record and made an appearance in the Texas class 4A state semifinals. For the season, King averaged 17.1 points and 11.3 rebounds per game while shooting 60 percent from the field. He recorded 25 double-doubles and had two 20-20 games. Over his last two seasons, the 6-foot-5, 209 pound King helped lead Brennan to an astounding 75-9 record. Despite King's tremendous play on the court, he was still unsigned after a dominant senior season.
It actually led to King playing AAU ball after his memorable senior season. King was in a very small minority of class of 2013 seniors hoping to impress college coaches in the spring period. The 2013 spring period is the beginning of a long AAU season for soon-to-be seniors (class of 2014), juniors (2015), sophomores (2016) and freshmen (2017). It's not meant for the class of 2013. King was against the idea at first, but he knew it would garner him much-needed looks among coaches. Despite all the odds, the plan worked for King. He caught head coach Tad Boyle's eye.
King impressed Boyle while playing at the Mile High Classic basketball tournament in Denver in late April. Problem was, Boyle's roster was set. All 13 scholarships were accounted for. There wasn't any room for King at Colorado. But then the NBA intervened. The San Antonio native's spot on Colorado's roster would have never been possible had it not been for then-junior Andre Roberson, also from San Antonio.
Roberson helped lead the 2012-2013 Buffaloes to a 21-12 record and appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Known as a dominant rebounder, (he was second in the country in rebounding) Roberson used his stellar play to propel him to the NBA. Roberson declared for the NBA draft on April 28th, opening up a scholarship for Colorado. Boyle then offered that spot to King, and the rest is history. King committed in to Colorado in May. Inadvertently, one San Antonian extended his helping hand to another San Antonian.
King takes great pride in hailing from San Antonio. "Texas in general, a lot of coaches go to Dallas or Houston, obviously they have good players that come out of there," King said. "But San Antonio is kind of over-looked sometimes. I think you could find good quality players who can help any team in any conference." Boyle's recruitment of Texas aligns with King's comments.
During Boyle's tenure at Colorado, he's always had at least one player on the roster come from Texas. Roberson was his first recruit signed at Colorado, and freshman forward Dustin Thomas is from Texarkana. Texas is certainly an important state to venture into for Boyle and Colorado. King and Thomas are further strengthening that connection.
In addition to King and Thomas, Tre'Shaun Fletcher and Jaron Hopkins make up the rest of Colorado's 2013 recruiting class. The four freshmen joined the rest of the Colorado roster in the summer, taking part in individual and team workouts with the coaching staff.
Official practices country-wide started on September 27th. Colorado didn't have its first practice till September 30th. Since then, King has provided a glimpse of what his future has in store for Colorado. King described his strengths on the basketball court.
"Naturally, I just have a knack for going for rebounds," King said. "I see a ball in the air and I try and get it. I think my shooting ability, being open in the corners, coming off screens and shooting are my strengths."
King's role on the 2013-2014 Buffaloes has yet to be determined. King, listed as a guard/forward, plays a position that Colorado has great depth in. The Buffaloes have numerous wings vying for playing time. There's sophomore Xavier Johnson, a starter last year as a freshman. There's redshirt freshman Chris Jenkins, also listed as a guard/forward. Fellow freshmen Fletcher and Hopkins can also play the position. Junior point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, at 6-foot-6, can also play the wing if called upon.
Colorado has a versatile roster, but King is optimistic he can play a role as a freshman. When asked what his role will be, King responded "a guy that come in defend, rebound and make open shots." Through the first week of practice, its exactly what King has done. He's been very active rebounding, particularly on the offensive glass. He's shot the ball well, especially off the catch and shoot. He's benefitted from having penetrating guards like Askia Booker and Dinwiddie feeding him good looks. Boyle also chimed in on his impressions of King and what role he may play this year.
"The thing I love about George is when it starts going up and down, and a little bit of the structure goes away, he makes plays," Boyle said. "He's a guy that gets his hands on the balls, he'll block a shot, he gets rebounds, he can make open shots, he can dish it off for an assist. He's got a lot of skills."
Boyle wants to play at a fast pace this year, so King's play in that regard has pleased him thus far. With Colorado's first game of the year against Baylor 32 days away, King is eager to get the season started.
Better late than never for George King.
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