King's ‘Not Blind,' See Michigan's Success

The recruitment of 2016 St. Vincent St. Mary's (Ohio) five-star small forward V.J. King will pick-up in just over a month when direct calls and texts from college coaches begin. Prior to that, the King's are watching from a far, noticing the success Michigan's program has had.

Silence is golden.

The father of 2016 St. Vincent (Ohio) St. Mary’s five-star small forward V.J. King is reveling in that silence, perfectly fine currently being unable to receive direct contact from college coaches inquiring about his son’s talents.

“Honestly I’ve kind of taken a back seat to that,” King’s father said. “It’s been quiet lately and we enjoy the silence. We recognize that again, (June 15) this thing is going to get a little crazy and so the silence is appreciated.”

“It’s tough not to be engaged in it but, in saying that, we truly don’t talk about it. And we recognize that come the third week of June, when that date hits, things change. Up until that point we’ve done everything we could to kind of ensure that V.J. has had some type of childhood and some type of preteen and teen childhood.

“And so, now that it’s getting ready to start, we’ll start talking about it. But right now? We don’t. I read the stuff and I pay attention to some of the stuff going on out there but honestly we could care less. I know that sounds crazy but it just works for us.”

A former college basketball player himself, King is a fan of the game, keeping an eye and ear glued to the court at all levels of the sport.

A program enjoying a great deal of success on and off the floor in recent years is Michigan under Coach John Beilein. Still maintaining a laid back approach to his son’s recruiting process, King says the Wolverines have been hard to ignore of late.

“I can tell you this, I’m not blind,” he said. “So, I’ve seen what they’ve done with their guards and wings these last two years and it’s impressive as hell; I can say that. I can tell you that obviously being here in Ohio and being a fan of Trey (Burke), watching Rumeal Robinson and watching Glenn Robinson III and some of the guys going through that place, and now seeing what they’re doing with Hardaway and those guys; I’m not blind.

“One of V.J.’s big brothers, Dakari Johnson, he went to Brewster after leaving St. Vincent St. Mary, so after watching him and watching Mitch McGary, it’s impressive what they’ve done. I’ve heard about some of their workouts.”

Looking to learn more about Michigan and what the program has to offer, the King’s are eager to get to Ann Arbor and meet the entire coaching staff.

“I can’t wait to get up on campus and see what they’ve done,” King’s father said. “I have had some unofficial contact with the staff up there and again I’m very impressed.

“It’s interesting that when you start to put the dynamic together that my kid is a day, a month, a year, away from making a decision. It was one thing when he was a kid but now, and I told V.J., the day you walk in (to a place) there and say look dad I’m done, this is where I want to go to school, we end this whole thing. We’re not trying to stretch this thing out just to stretch it out, we could give a flip about rankings, we don’t care anything about that; it’s about finding the right fit.

“So, as we begin to look into this glass window that is the recruitment, we’ve been taking some mental notes for a long time and as I’ve said before, there’s not going to be any last minute recruiting thins with us. If we don’t have a relationship with you and we don’t know you when it comes time to make a decision, we don’t know you.

“But it’s impressive what they’ve been doing, Coach Beilein and those guys; very impressive.”

Already set to host five-star 2016 point guard Derryck Thornton Jr. and 2016 five-star shooting guard Tyus Battle for Michigan’s one-day college practice camp on June 7, the King’s are considering doing the same if circumstances allow, good friends with both families.

“I have not mentioned to the staff that we would like to go,” King’s father said. “That was actually on my list of things to do this week, I kid you not. That we would like to but you have to understand that my daughter is deep into the volleyball AAU circuit and she’s got to get her time too and we drag V.J. along, you’re going to sit your butt in these bleachers just like she does.

“And then there’s the money issue so, we’ve got to make sure finances are in order too but if all those things are in place we are looking forward to having the opportunity to see that camp.”

While many onlookers see the talent and next level potential King already possesses with his size and versatile ability to score the basketball, thinking this could be a one and done type situation before heading to the NBA, King’s parents have other ideas.

The life of a professional athlete is glamorous certainly, but the King’s are pumping the breaks urging their son can enjoy a true college experience.

“We’re going in thinking V.J. is going to be on campus for four years,” King’s father said. “So all of this one and done madness, we don’t buy into that and that’s not a guarantee for anyone. Our thinking is, you might be there four years, you might be there five, so for us, you know I played division two basketball in Northern Pennsylvania and had a tremendous experience.

“The college life that I had on campus was unquantifiable and I’ve expressed that to V.J. so that’s important. It’s important because you get that experience once, that’s it. I don’t care if you go back as an unconditional student; you’re not going to get it as if you’re walking onto the campus at 18 or 19 years old. So, that’s important and V.J. is a good student, he has thoughts of possibly being an engineer or being an architect, he enjoys math and good with numbers so, those kinds of things are important to us.

“Being able to be engaged in other things socially outside of your sport is important to us. So, if there is a feel, if there is an understanding, if there’s a spirit that’s there, we’re going to talk about that and we’re going to get engaged in that. Those are things that are important to us. For us, it never has always been about the ball and it can’t be the end all be all.”

Continuing to educate their son on the attention paid to him from fan bases all over the country, the constant social media interaction can be a bit much to deal with on a daily basis.

Agreeing to allow King to sign up for a twitter, his parents believe the platform is being used for the right reasons.

“When he finally made the USA team last year his USA brothers got him up to the room and said look man that’s enough of this it’s time to get a twitter account,” King’s father said. “He calls me and he’s like, ‘dad can I get a twitter account? I know I’ve asked before but now I’ve made the team.’ And I told him going in, his mother and I said listen if you make the team we’ll think about it, that was kind of his motivation going in.

“He said now I’m here and the older guys are all in the background just enjoying themselves like kids, so we set it up but we don’t do the whole Instagram and Facebook and all that stuff.

“And there are moments on twitter where I think he does get a little childish but I think for the most part he tries to keep it spiritual and motivating. He knows there’s kids out there following and he wants to be a positive force for good, we say that all the time.”

Dealing with the constant microscope, the King’s make sure the game of basketball doesn’t become a job.

“If it’s not fun it’s not worth doing,” King’s father said. “That’s all there is to it. You have got to love the ugliness of it. Like I tell V.J. all the time when he is dead solid tired, no more in the tank, tongue hanging out, just can’t give it one more rep, one more jumper, one more sprint, I blurt out in the gym, do you love it now?

“And I’m telling you the first thing that comes out of his mouth is heck yeah! Because if you can’t love it then, guess what when the lights are out there and the autographs are being signed, you’re going to love it then, but if you can love it now, it’s all gravy. The minute it isn’t fun anymore, it’s time to get out of it.”

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