David King was looking to get better in basketball.
He ended up learning a whole new ballgame.
King is a senior at Northeast High School, and he’s been playing basketball his entire life. Last year, he was talking to some friends about a way to improve his game and he got an interesting suggestion. It opened a whole new world.
“I tried out for volleyball because I wanted to work on a lot of things that would help my game,” the West Oak Lane resident said. “It’s good to get you stronger, it’s good for your footwork and you’re always in the gym getting better.
“It did help my basketball game, but I ended up loving it. I made All-Public. And I love volleyball. I’m still more of a basketball player, but I love volleyball too, now. It’s good to have another sport, it makes you better in everything.”
King was very successful in volleyball, and this winter he’s doing everything he can to get the VIkings basketball team in position to succeed.
It hasn’t been easy, and he even realizes it might not happen this year, but it’s not for lack of effort on his part, and, what makes him very proud, it’s not the lack of effort on this teammates’ part. Northeast is 1-11 on the season, but things are looking up.
King, a 6-foot-5 wing, is working on his game, but he’s more impressed with the marked improvement of his teammates.
“At the start of the year, we only had a few guys who played varsity basketball before,” King said. “They didn’t know what it took and they didn’t know how to get better. They learned quick, though, and they’re getting better.
“They’re not making the mistakes they used to and they’re learning a lot about the game. I’m trying to help, but our coach (Steve Novosel) is really helping us. He’s not just teaching us basketball, he’s teaching us life lessons. We’re learning about everything.”
King doesn’t have the same learning curve as many of his teammates, but that doesn’t mean he’s not doing his part to improve his game.
Because of his size, he looks like a guy who should be posting up and scoring in the paint, and when the situation calls for it, he can do that. But when he was younger, King was on the small side so he typically played guard.
After a growth spurt, he still had all the skills of a wing so he presents mismatches for his opponents.
“In high school it’s not that way, but in college, bigs can do everything, so it’s good I can do that,” said King, who leads the Vikings in scoring with more than 11 points per game and ranks second in rebounds with five per affair. “When I got to high school, I wasn’t even 6 foot. When you’re big and can play the wing, it gives you options.
“A lot of times, we play people and they think I’m just going to be inside. But then they watch a little bit and they see I can do more than that. I’m not being cocky or anything, I still have to get better at everything, but my game is everything. I’m not great at everything but I can do everything.”
He might need to work on his basketball skills, but his leadership skills are pretty polished for a high school senior.
King knows that Northeast isn’t going to contend for a Public League championship this year, but that doesn’t deter him from putting in extra practice time. It might not lead him to a championship, but it could very well help Northeast bring home a title.
“This team is going to be really good if the younger guys keep working the way they do,” King said. “They’re going to be really good. I know they’re going to compete. And I think if they get younger guys, they’ll do for them what I’m trying to do for those guys. I had people help me last year, the seniors. Without that, nobody gets better. But these guys can play, too, so I think they’ll be really good.”
While the Vikings are competing in the Public League next year, King hopes to be playing in college. He has an official visit scheduled for Bryn Athyn and he’s optimistic about going there, but there will likely be others calling.
“I definitely want to play basketball, that’s my first love,” King said. “But I would consider playing volleyball. Whatever the better situation is, I’ll do.
“I either want to study architecture or (become an entrepreneur. I’ve always been fascinated with building big projects, I think I would love that. But I also would love to start my own business, build something that way. I want to do something that is fun and makes money.”
And he’ll be back to see the result of his hard work this year.
“I’ll be here to watch,” King said. “This year will really make a difference, and I can’t wait to see it.”