Thursday, October 17, 2013

Welcome Aboard, Joey King (this year!)

Just read on the Twitter machine that Joey King, the 6-9 sophomore power (?) forward transfer from Drake, has been granted a waiver making him eligible  for this season.  King, originally from Eagan, transferred home to be closer to a sick family member who I can't recall, and the NCAA actually gave the Gophers some good news, giving a badly needed boost to the Gopher front court.

King, one of those fancy pants stretch fours everybody's talking about these days, averaged 6.9 points and 2.9 rebounds in 19 minutes per game last season for the Bulldogs, which somehow was good enough to make the All Missouri Valley Freshman team.  Since he's a stretch 4 he better be able to shoot is what you're saying, and he hit 35% of his three-pointers with an average of 3 attempts per game, both of which are pretty good numbers for an unheralded freshman.  If Richard Pitino can implement the system he wants a big man who can hit the three, and King should fit the bill.

Perhaps more importantly, however, given the Gophers current front court questions, is can he rebound?  The 2.9 per game doesn't sound all that impressive, but it was good enough for fourth on the team and came about in just 19 minutes per so that's not so bad.  His offensive and defensive rebounding percentages (5.5% and 13.5%) came in third and fourth on the team, respectively.  That may sound good, but Drake was a horrendous rebounding team.  If King put up those numbers on last year's Gopher team he would have been 9th in offensive rebounding % but fifth in defensive rebounding %.

In any case, getting an eligible Joey King certain helps this team by giving them another viable option in the paint.  Assuming, that is, that King doesn't go all Rick Rickert on it and do nothing but flit about the three-point line all day (a concern considering he took 7 threes in the intrasquad scrimmage vs. 0 two-pointers while grabbing only one rebound).  If he treats the 3-pointer as a weapon instead of a crutch, and works to bolster the team's rebounding which is going to a problem either way, this move could go from good to essential.  If he doesn't, we could be looking at a less-skilled version of Rickert, in which case I'm going to be yelling at him all year.

Fingers crossed.

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