By: Raashaan Myers
Many locally didn’t know much about UofL’s newest commitment when he announced for the Cardinals last month. But after a superb showing at the NBAPA Top 100 as well as his MVP worthy performance in the Peach Jam semifinals D.C. area product V.J. King has Card Nation buzzing and is considered a must sign recruit.
As I evaluate King I first want to try and find a player comparison that UofL fans can relate to. The closest comparison I could come up with is the Wizard of Oz himself Mr. Jason Osborne who was an athletic phenom with a 6-9 frame and guard skills at the small forward spot. Boasting a long 6-7 frame and amazing dexterity and ball handling ability King is also a matchup nightmare. Like Osborne in his day King had a great ability to use his size to dominate smaller perimeter players, but also the quickness and explosiveness to exploit big men when they attempt to defend him. This ability to exploit bigger slower players was on full display as King faced off against the mammoth front line of the Georgia Stars EYBL team in the Peach Jam Semis.
The Stars (Who went on to win the Peach Jam title) posses possibly the best front line in all of AAU featuring elite 2016 big men Udoka Azibuike and Abdul Ado, as well as 2017 stud Wendell Carter Jr. Needless to say King (who was playing in the post all game) had his work cut out for him. One of the biggest knocks on V.J. has always been his motor because of his laid back style and general demeanor. This is something he has worked on and made it a point to come out and stay aggressive. And vs Georgia he did just that constantly staying in attack mode against his bigger slower opponents using his quickness and taking smart angles to attack the basket forcing the issue and drawing a ton of trips to the line (16-20 FTs). When King found himself matched up on a smaller perimeter players he would shoot over the top with a very consistent midrange jump shot or force the issue with his length to finish in the lane. For the game V.J. King would finish the game totaling 26 points and was no doubt the best player on the floor looking like a McDonald’s All American.
This performance by King to this point is more the exception than the rule, but it was a tantalizing glimpse into his abilities as a player. Many analysts have said V.J. King is as talented as any in 2016 other than maybe the 3 mega talented players at the top of the class Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, and Josh Jackson. King is definitely a recruit head coach Rick Pitino must hold on to until signing day and with ace recruiter Kenny Johnson leading the way I do believe the commitment will stick. And with this very talented piece in the bag look for more recruiting fireworks to come!