Averaging 26.5 points entering the weekend, it was clear how talented of a scorer Kobe King is. He didn’t disappoint against Lakeville North, finished with a game-high 49 points on 17-for-29 shooting from the field.
King demonstrated that he wasn’t a one-dimensional player either with his ability to attack the Panthers in a multitude of ways. He found driving lanes to register lay ups, created space for a mid-range jumper and found ways of getting open from three. Simply put King was able to put together a balanced offensive performance and distribute the basketball to his teammates.
The Panthers did make King work for his shots but he is too talented of a scorer to be contained for a long period of time. When he decided he was going to score, King found a way and was responsible for scoring the last 12 points of the night for La Crosse Central. In that scoring span he hit three straight 3-pointers and hit three free throws after drawing a foul on a 3-point attempt.
King came out hunting for his shot early in the game. Even if he didn’t get the shot to fall, he would try and follow the ball in order to collect off of his miss. This worked twice for him. The first time, when Nathan Reuvers was able to block one of his shots on the block, King was able to corral the loose ball and successfully bank his second shot in over Reuvers.
The second instance came in the second half as King attempted a corner three. His shot clanked off the rim but the defender failed to box him out. King was able to grab his rebound and tipped in his shot before he landed. That kind of effort will help him get on the floor early in his Wisconsin career.
The only knock on King was that he got into some foul trouble early in the first half by drawing two blocking calls. At the same time you have to appreciate the aggressiveness on King’s part, which demonstrated that he’s a willing defender. The two fouls were the only ones he drew in the game.
King didn’t register any steals and that may have been due to him wanting to play smart in order to stay on the floor, making sure the Panthers couldn’t consistently build off their lead. Despite not creating an extra offensive possession, he was able to provide steady defense, especially the times he was matched up with Reuvers.
King didn’t strictly have to play post defense against his future teammate, as he defended Reuvers on the perimeter for the most part. Despite giving up height, King was able to battle against his future teammate in order to try and contain him and was able to hold up well.
In front of a number of Wisconsin fans, King put together an impressive performance. Strong for his age, King was able to use his strength and quickness to help him drive to the hoop, which also helped him draw contact and get to the free throw line. He unofficially went 9-for-10 from the line.
With Central being down by at least seven points throughout the second half, it was good to see King play his game. While it would have been easy for him to start jacking up shots to try to cut into the deficit, King made sure that he kept away from taking ill-advised shots in order to avoid making mistakes with the ball. Throughout the game King was able to take what the defense was giving him.
With King demonstrating his balance as a scorer, it is easy to see how he and Brad Davison will be able to play off of one another well. King handled the ball, but when the basketball wasn’t in his hands, he was able to effectively move without it to create an open shot for himself. The way King shot the ball showed that he only needs a small opening to get an open look, as his quick release on his attempts makes defenders pay for any small mistakes.
Wisconsin is set to lose its starting backcourt and King, like Davison, will be given the opportunity to show why they deserve playing time as freshman. King will need to continue to get stronger and be able to adjust to the college game, but his ability as a scorer and defender will make it difficult to keep him off the floor.