The ACC’s Top Returning Players: #22 VJ King

By Mychal Hunter

I honestly thought by now this player would be higher on the list, but given the state of Louisville basketball over the last 12 months, he gets a pass.

Coming in at #22, Louisville junior forward, VJ King.

That video is from his freshman season. You can see there why people were so excited about him coming into his sophomore campaign. He is a three level scorer that is most effective in what could now be considered no mans land, the mid range game. Personally, I’ll take a good look from mid range over a bad look from deep any day.

Some may consider King’s sophomore campaign to have been a disappointment, but that could be a function of a few things.

  1. Unrealistic expectations: Yeah, sometimes it’s not the player. It’s us and our expectations. King showed flashes in his freshman season but only averaged 13 minutes per game.
  2. The coaching change: Going from Rick Pitino to David Padgett is the obvious answer here. Though it is interesting that according to KenPom, Louisville played with more tempo in Padgett’s season than in King’s freshman season.
  3. Deng Adel displaying his skills: Deng Adel came back to Louisville last season after testing the NBA waters with one purpose in mind. Impress NBA scouts. He did not necessarily do that but he did put up a ton of shots last season.

King did manage to average 8.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in a shade over 25 minutes per game, but did average 1.4 turnovers while only 0.9 assists. His three point shooting also seemingly regressed last season. After going 16 for 38 as a frosh, he went 24 of 72 as a sophomore, something he will need to improve on.

Now that Adel has left the program to pursue a professional career, King’s opportunities on the wing should increase a ton. This is still kind of an upside pick, but I like V.J. to break out this year under a coach in Chris Mack that loves to give his wing players a ton of leash.

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