EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 6, 2013

King of SportsCenter

Derry skywalker's dunk captures national attention

By Michael Muldoon
mmuldoon@eagletribune.com

---- — Even if you are Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant or a Duke basketball star, ordinary doesn’t get you on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays.

But to make the ESPN highlights as a Stony Brook basketball player, you have to be extraordinary.

Redshirt freshman forward Scott King of Derry was just that with his jawdropping alley-oop dunk on Jan. 26 in a 76-69 win over Maine.

Tommy Brenton, who had a triple double, is usually pin-point with his passes. But this one was a Tebowesque pass that seemed headed for the cheap seats. King soared, stretched, reached behind his head and threw it down with authority.

“I’m not going to lie, I’ve watched it quite a few times,” said the 6-9, 210-pound King. “It’s cool to see. I don’t know how I caught it. I don’t think I would catch that in practice. It was the adrenaline of the game.”

Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell said, “It was an unbelievable dunk, a spectacular play. I thought it would (make SportsCenter). It was that good. That’s a little bit of what he can do.”

Social media helped him get his day in the sun.

“After the game (which was on ESPN3), the athletic department was Tweeting about it trying to get on SportsCenter,” explained King. “Friends and family back home were Tweeting it and it got ESPN’s attention.”

Not a bad first dunk of his college career. He said he probably dunked every other game as a prep standout at Holderness and had a dunk or two his junior year at Pinkerton.

King was mostly overlooked in high school, perhaps because he was hard to spot at a rail-thin 185 pounds. He’s still no threat to win the Mr. America contest, but he continues to fill out.

The lanky small forward with the soft touch works as hard to put on the weight as a super model does trying to keep it off.

“Every single way possible, protein shakes and everything. Everything within the regulations,” said King, a 3.0 student who is determined to make the Dean’s List this semester. “I eat a lot. I eat as much as possible.”

The dunk was the highlight to his season but he’s working hard to insure that it’s just the first of many. He’s averaging 2.9 points and 1.0 rebounds in 6.5 minutes a game. Almost all of his scoring has come from deep. He’s shooting a terrific .417 on 3-pointers (15 of 36).

He scored a career-high 14 points vs. Vermont.

“That was definitely my best game,” said King, who sat out his freshman year as a redshirt to bulk up. “We were losing big and needed to score some points. I hit a quick three and an offensive rebound putback. I hit a couple other threes.”

While the minutes have been limited, his potential certainly isn’t.

“I love him. I love him,” said Pikiell. “He’s playing behind a real good player in fifth-year senior Tommy Brenton (averaging 8.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists). We graduate four seniors. Scott can score. He’s a really good worker. He’s going to be a 1,000-point scorer for us. I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t believe it.”

King has learned the value of patience. He’s being patient at Stony Brook, too, as the 17-5 Seahawks have their sights set on an NCAA berth.

“It’s been great. The coaches are great and the team’s great,” said King, who chose the Central Long Island school over Fordham (his second choice), UNH, Sacred Heart, Drexel and Delaware. “Every practice is competitive, no matter what. Everyone is competing for minutes. I absolutely made the right decision. I love it.”

The Seawolves play an ambitious non-league schedule including games at UConn, Maryland and vs. Seton Hall at the Prudential Center. Another highlight was playing Rider at 6 a.m. as part of the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon.

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Follow Michael Muldoon on Twitter under the screen name @MullyET.

Tall Tale Scott King is 6-9, which is strange considering his mother is 5-6 and his father is 6-1. The tallest person in the family is a 6-3 uncle. Where did the height come from? "I have no idea!" he said. "We're still trying to figure that one out." Anything else unusual about him? "My whole family plays hockey except for me," he said.

See the dunk Go to YouTube and search "Stony Brook alley-oop."