Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
V.J. King Scores HoopHall-Best 38 in Loss, Talks Recruitment
By EDDIE GIBBON
SPRINGFIELD, Mass — In the final game of the 2015 HoopHall Classic, Chaminade College Prep (MO) defeated Paul VI (VA), 88-78. In one of the best individual matchups of the entire tournament, 2016 small forwards V.J. King and Jayson Tatum went head-to-head.
King, ranked 16th in the ESPN.com Super 60, led his team by erupting for a tournament-best 38 points. With UConn head coach Kevin Ollie sitting front and center, the smooth 6-foot-7 wing showed why he’s one of the most versatile players in his class. Tatum, ranked No. 1 in the ESPN.com Super 60, finished with a team-high 25 points. He is considering UConn among the schools on his final list of 10.
When asked what he thought of playing against Tatum, King responded, “Off the court I’m probably closest with him out of anybody in the country.”
He mentioned that the two players have discussed playing together at the next level.
On the recruiting front, King mentioned four schools specifically that are coming after him the hardest.
“UConn, Arizona, Kansas and Kentucky are ones I can think of off the top of my head,” said King.
Kentucky, which offered over the summer, is a school that King plans to visit in the spring.
“Kentucky speaks for itself,” he said. “I mean its Cal [Kentucky head coach John Calipari], he does what he does, he puts people in the league.”
When asked what he thought of the Kentucky platoons, King seemed to like the idea.
“They’re playing defense,” he noted. “Even with the great players, I think they have nine all-American’s. I don’t see a lot of people beating them this year.”
Although no dates are set King said that he plans to visit three other schools along with Kentucky.
“Louisville, Florida and North Carolina, those are my next visits,” said King.
Louisville is a school that is new in King’s recruitment.
“I haven’t heard a lot from them,” said King when asked how hard they were recruiting him. He continued by saying, “I have an interest in Louisville. They play so fast.”
He noted that he has not yet talked with head coach Rick Pitino, but has talked to a few assistants.
King also discussed what he likes about some of the schools on his list:
UConn: “I think I saw Kevin Ollie out of the corner of my eye. It’s a great program with great people. That was one of the visits I took before the season started. Just a great atmosphere, and great coaching staff. I could definitely see myself in one of those jerseys right now.”
Florida: “The coaching staff and tradition. When he [head coach Billy Donovan] came to see me during the pre-season we talked about a player like myself coming in and leaving my footprint on the the program.”
Arizona: “Another great program. It’s on the west coast, but my mom doesn’t want me to be that far away. It’s a great program too, and I talk with coach Damon Stoudemire a lot.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.