August 9, 2014

The King of the Mustangs

Kevin McCarthy

The Academic Athletic Association (AAA) - San Francisco Section gets brushed off as lightweight in the local and regional prep basketball circles. But maybe this will change at least to some degree with Lincoln High's 54-47 victory last March over vaunted De La Salle in the initial round of the CIF Northern California Division I playoffs. 6-foot-3 guard Jemeil King led the Mustangs with 17 points that night and he is returning for his senior year.

photo of Jemeil King

King and another talent, 6-foot-2 Tarrez Blaylock, will be the go-to Lincoln players come December.

“I definitely think we will be competitive as a team,” King explained, adding, “he's a scorer and I'm a facilitator.”

King also envisions providing greater leadership this coming season because “I was a junior [last season] and we had a bunch of seniors on the team.” That squad finished 25-9 overall, 14-0 in league and winning the AAA championship is King's best hoops memory to date. ”We had doubters the whole year but we got to our goal.“

The appraisal of his play in July's Nor Cal Summer Tipoff was very positive: ”Quick athlete with long arms, really good in the open court, excellent rebounder who loves to go coast to coast, good passer off the bounce, finishes well at the rim.“

This spring and summer, King competed with the Bay Area Warriors.

Here's Warriors Coach Randy Bessolo on guard: ”I would say Jemeil is a great competitor on both sides of the ball with a non-stop motor. His offense gets attention but he is especially great on defense with ballhawk skills and a knack for winning 50/50 balls. He certainly can play at the next level and the school that gets him will have a winner.“

Asked for his best basketball skills, King offered, ”Being a floor general, a leader on the court, making my teammates better and creating for myself.“ What he is working on the most is being constantly aggressive and attacking with the ball.

As to his evolution since his freshman season, King said, ”I always knew I could score but I liked to get others involved and now I feel comfortable knowing when to take over and when to pass.“

King tried football and ran track but his passion for basketball always won out. Plus, “my Dad played basketball, it's in the family.“

He's looking to major in either business or broadcasting as “business is everyday life and broadcasting will allow me to remain in sports.“

Academically, ”it was an on-and-off struggle my first two years but I did a lot better this year. A lot of people have been telling me I have a promising future in basketball and, like taking your game to the next level, that's what I want to do with my grades.“

Regarding recruiting, it's been contacts from schools all over the map -- ”Chico State, Pepperdine, Pacific and California“ but as yet no visits or offers.

Let's see who breaks the ice first.