The GW men’s basketball team trailed No. 18 Xavier by two points at the Smith Center Jan. 14, 1998 with freshman Mike King at the foul line and no time remaining. It was King’s third collegiate game and his initiation into the intense world of GW basketball. With the entire arena focusing on him, King nailed both free throws, sending the game into overtime, where the Colonials would triumph in the end.
Now in his junior season, King looks to continue setting examples on and off the court for the athletic Colonials team. King averaged 15.1 points a game last season and said he is working hard on his outside shot.
When Mike is open this year he’s usually knocking (three-point shots) down, head coach Tom Penders said. This year he’s a little more patient.
Penders said he thinks King improved his game, especially his shooting, and he said King looks like a better ball player this season. King shot 15-of-63 from three-point range last season, and had an overall field goal percentage of just under 40 percent. King started last season 0-for-16 from three-point range over the first six games of the season. When King was on his game – like he was during an 8-of-12 shooting performance for 22 points against Massachusetts at the Smith Center last February – the Colonials were tough to beat. In last year’s NCAA Tournament loss to Indiana University, King shot 2-of-10 from the field for eight points, a type of performance he hopes to avoid.
I’m working on consistency, King said. I’m looking for the shot first and thinking pass second.
Penders said he anticipates the opposition to pay close attention to King this season, especially with the departure of Shawnta Rogers and Yegor Mescheriakov. But King said he knows the talent of the freshman class and that he must be a team player. He indicated that it was his role to make sure the freshmen stay on track and that they be at practice and class on time.
Shawnta showed me the ropes, King said. Once they see me doing the right thing, they’ll start doing the right thing.
King said he’s excited for the season to start and looks forward to running the floor with freshmen SirValiant Brown and Chris Monroe and junior Bernard Barrow.
It’s big shoes to fill for Shawnta, King said. But I think Bernard can fit four toes in those shoes.
For the Colonials to compete with a nationally ranked team, such as Atlantic 10 rival Temple, King must find his shot and energize the team through his competitiveness.
Mike comes and plays hard everyday, Penders said. He leads by example, and he wants to do well. You don’t have to motivate Mike.