On Tuesday, King put pen to paper to realize that lifetime dream.
King, a standout forward at East Stroudsburg North High School and ESU, signed a one-year contract with UCD-Marian of Ireland’s SuperLeague.
The opportunity to play professional basketball was something that was on King’s mind from the start of his time at ESU.
“I can remember going into the office and talking to (ESU head) Coach (Jeff) Wilson and (assistant) Coach (Justin) Potts and when they asked me what my long-term goals were basketball wise I told them I wanted to play professionally,” King said. “Whether it was in America or overseas somewhere, they told me that if I worked hard that they believed I had the talent to do it. I’ve been working hard the last four years and it paid off.”
After a solid career at ES North, where he made the All-Mountain Valley Conference and Pocono Record All-Area first team and was the MVP of the MVC as a senior, King was a four-year starter at ESU.
He was the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East Freshman of the Year as the Warriors won a single-season school record 24 games and made their first NCAA tournament appearance in 2010. King averaged 10.3 points and five rebounds per game as a sophomore to set up a big junior year, one that saw him help the Warriors win their first PSAC championship since 1991. King, an All-PSAC East second teamer, was named the MVP of the tournament after averaging 22.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game during the three-game run to the title.
King followed that up with a dominant senior season, earning a spot on the All-PSAC first team while leading the conference in field goal percentage as the Warriors won the PSAC East title.
“That first year was the hardest,” said King, who finished his career at ESU ranked eighth in points (1,337), seventh in rebounds (690), fourth in field goal percentage (.564) and third in blocked shots (180). “I had to get used to the physicality and everybody was bigger and stronger. Getting in shape was a big part of it, too. In the offseason I was always here running and lifting to make sure I was in the best possible shape for the next season.”
His play at ESU got King noticed, but he had to wait for the professional contract he coveted.
UCD-Marian, which plays in Ireland’s top division, had shown interest in King a few months ago, but was in the process of searching for a head coach. Once Ioannis Liapakis was appointed to the position last month, the team got back in touch with King and sent him a contract. He spent some time looking it over with his family and by Tuesday it was signed.
“I want to play to the best of my ability and help them win a championship,” said King, who will join UCD-Marian on Sept. 1 as it prepares for the season that starts later that month and runs through early March. “I want to play my best and hopefully get another contract for next year and keep playing basketball.”
It’s the latest chapter in a book that saw King go from a local high school standout to helping the Warriors win 82 games, two PSAC East titles and a PSAC championship over the past four years.
“These have probably been the best four years of my life,” King said. “The guys I came in with, we had a good core of talent, and we had an opportunity to change the program and we did that. I have a lot of good memories of teammates and coaches.
“Everybody got along, there were never any issues, and I’m going to miss it.”