King Making Most Of Burger Game Experience

Duke bound forward Taylor King sat down with TDD at the MDAA Game. The 6-foot-7 California sharp shooter touched on winning the state title, his role at Duke, and the recruiting he's doing this week.

If you are a high school basketball player, it would probably be pretty tough to have a better week than the one being enjoyed by Taylor King. After leading Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei to an overtime win and state championship on Friday night, the 6-7 forward arrived in Louisville on Saturday to get ready for Wednesday's McDonald's All-American game.

According to King, the state title was a perfect way to cap his storied high school career.

"It felt great, going up there three years in a row not a lot of schools get to do that," said King. "Winning my last game of my season and my career was great and it gives me a lot of confidence for next year."

While others might be drained both emotionally and physically, King thinks the short turnaround is a benefit.

"It's actually in my favor because I'm in basketball shape right now," King told the Devils Den. "Some of these guys have been done for a few weeks and haven't been playing. It's really fun, I'm excited for it."

The ultimate validation of a high school career, the Mickey D's game is more than just an opportunity to play on television. The game is almost like one last chance to get the band together for a blowout tour and also provides a chance for King to gel with his future teammates Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler.

"It feels great just being here with my friends and all of the other great basketball players," mentioned King. "That's what the fun is, just playing with them. With my teammates Nolan and Kyle here that's even better because I'll be with them in a couple of months."

One player in particular that King, Smith and Singler have been focusing on is Patrick Patterson. The 6-8 forward from West Virginia is still undecided and as long as Duke is in the running King and company are making sure he knows that he'd be a welcome addition to their recruiting class.

"We try to get in his head a little bit, let him know," said King of Patterson. "But, it's his decision and wherever he chooses he's going to be a great player."

When he wasn't busy with his own schedule, King spent much of his senior year following Duke.

"I watched almost every game on tv and followed them through tivo," said King. "They had their struggles but that's just the way it goes sometimes. Next year will be a whole different story with us three coming in."

After the Blue Devils first round exit from the 2007 NCAA Tournament, there's been more criticism than usual aimed in the direction of Durham. However, King isn't worried and remains confident that things will be back in order soon.

"Things don't need to be turned around, it's just a quote unquote down year," said King. "That's just the way it is sometimes. UCLA had their lows and now look at them their back in the Final Four. We just need to go in and contribute as much as we can, us three."

So the question is, where does King see himself helping out during his freshman year.

"I see myself going in and doing whatever he (Coach Krzyzewski) wants me to do. Contribituting on the rebounds and with my jump shot. Everything that he wants me to do, I'm going to do it."

At the same time, the native of Southern California understands that his game isn't complete and that there are areas he needs to work on.

"Probably my strength and my physicality," said King of the areas he most needs to improve. "I need to be more physical. Also my quickness, I need to get into the shape that I need to guard a two and a three in college."

With high school graduation approaching rapidly, King is looking forward to spending the summer in Durham. He's been talking to the coaches about what to expect but from the sounds of it they've been more concerned with him enjoying the rest of his high school career than specifying things they'd like to see him work on.

"I know on my own what I have to work on, I don't really talk to them about that," said King. "They just told me to enjoy this and enjoy the rest of my high school. After that they just want me to get ready for June and July."


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