Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Uno En Uno With: Walter King, Lee Academy

If college ingrains in you the importance of time management, prep school preaches it with an iron fist.

Now at Maine Academy, Stepinac product Walter King is as vested in his academics as any other compartment of his life.

He received the qualifying SAT score and has savored his niche as an all-around scorer on a squad featuring low to mid-major talent.

And while he's had to prove his value all over again, strapping up defensively as effectively as he can knock down shots and barrel to the rim, King is cognizant that relentlessness and workaday consistency make the grind worth it.

King believes in a whirlwind journey, which saw him go from an undersize guard to a perilous scorer with legit handle and above-the-rim finishing to a fringe Division-I recruit.

 With just one Division-I offer sheet (Norfolk State in Virginia, where former Mount Vernon lockup guard Devonte Banner is currently plying his trade) on the table and several uncertainties, King took the prep route.

After playing the role of secondary scorer and strictly the quarterback, King's 27-point outburst on perennially potent New Hampton and 25-point performance against South Kent has opened him up to more NCAA interest.

While juggling school work, the demands of the season, and staying in touch with his hometown Peekskill support system leaves limited time, King will be following the Section 1 semifinal and championship games this week.

 King, a TOP-5 scoring leader in the CHSAA last season, has been gratified by the elevated play of former teammate Ky Guerra.

 He's kept tabs on the impact of sophomore shootist and high-major target Jordan Tucker, inundated with recruiting letters since his freshman campaign at White Plains.

We caught up with King, who despite being seven hours north will feel right at home as he tunes in on County Center action this week

King On His New Role

Here at Lee Academy, I strictly run the point guard position. It is my job to create for my teammates and set up the offense. Last year at Stepinac, I played the 2-3 because I was one of the taller guards. Yet being 6-foot and playing off the ball obviously gets you under-recruited as far as high-level goes...

We have three players committed so far to Maine, Utah State, and another who has offers from North Texas, Minnesota, and East Carolina just to name a few. One thing that was different at Lee Academy is that none of the players are from the U.S.

On Lee's Style Of Play

We play a Euro style of play but also up tempo. So, this allowed me to adjust and transform my game. I knew when to push the ball and play at a fast tempo and also when to slow it down and get us in a set.

On Local Area Connections

Me and Matt (Ryan) grew up together, we've been on the same AAU team from third to ninth grade and on top of that we are literally next door neighbors. Watching him sign (with Notre Dame) and make it to such a high-level made me real happy and motivated me. The one thing I always liked is that if you are good and you are from Westchester, there is always a mutual respect between other top-notch players and guys who made it from Westchester.

Nobody forgets where they came from and we always show love to each other when we see each other, wherever it may be. Hopefully I'll be next to sign that paper and represent Westchester.

On Prepping It

Prep school here at Lee humbled me. Humbled me as a player and as a person. When you go to prep school you find out everyone was "the man" just like you in high school so your ego means absolutely nothing. When you go to prep school it's the same experience as it'll be in college, you just have to work hard and prove yourself constantly. What you did before here is irrelevant...

Prove yourself and respect is given.

On His Strongest Influences

My mom is the one who gives me the most moral support of course. My moms my biggest fan. She always had faith in me with this basketball thing and she never missed a game.

On County Center Week/Section 1 Playoffs

I'll be there to support some of my friends like Rickey (McGill) and Kai (Mitchell). Ky Guerra and I played together last summer and we went to Kentucky with just five players. Myself, Andrew Groll (Byram Hills), Derrick Felder (Saunders), and one more.

We ended up losing in the Sweet 16 of nationals. Ky and me still laugh about that. Now, when I read tweets from LOHUD about him dropping 30 while I'm in Maine I just send him a text like "KENTUCKY!" and it's all jokes from there.

On His Childhood

Growing up in Peekskill was perfect honestly. Peekskill used to be a powerhouse. I always used to watch players like Mookie Jones (Syracuse), Daquan Brickhouse (Coppin State), Ralph Watts (Albany) and they made something out of nothing.

Their names are legendary both in the County Center and Glens Falls. Me and Daquan are close friends even though he's a bit older. He motivates me because he's an undersized guard yet never gave up on his D-1 dreams. Everyone doubted him yet he still strived to prove everyone wrong. Whenever I go home, (Brickhouse) and myself are in the gym at least twice a week.

I played on a whole bunch of different AAU teams. Westchester Hawks, New Heights, Long Island Lightning and Team Frenji. The story of my life is me always behind someone or playing a back seat to someone. I can't wait to be the man on a team next year in college and lead by example. Another thing about where I'm from is that the fan base is crazy. If you have a chance at making it somewhere with basketball you will have the city on your back and supporting you. My Mom never put me in Peekskill High School because she thought Step was best for me and wanted the best education for me. But I had always had a strong support system from everyone in Peekskill.

On Future Plans

I've got four Division-II offers: Franklin Pierce, Post University, Southern New Hampshire and Florida Southern. I have interest from D-1s such as Maine, Southern Illinois, New Hampshire, Cal State-Bakersfield and Niagara.