Prep Newsmaker: King quietly gets the job done
Point guard was named MVP of the Marv Sanders Invitational
FARMINGTON — From his demeanor to the way he produces on the court, Tyren King is quietly thriving as the point guard of the 5-1 Farmington boys basketball team.
Though there's nothing quiet about the impact King has on the game, his production can sometimes fly under the radar. He's constantly making the right play, which isn't usually the flashy one.
"He's here every day, early. He stays after practice, shoots, works on his game," FHS coach Paul Corley said. "He is quiet, he's very humble. I had a good one-on-one conversation with him before the season where I laid out my expectations for him as a point guard, and he is following right along with what we need out of him."
The senior transfer from Tempe, Ariz., was named the most valuable player of the Marv Sanders Invitational this weekend, which the Scorpions won for the first time since 2003.
"We felt pretty confident going into the season. We've been working hard in practice to try to get mentally prepared for anyone who faced us in this tournament," King said, of his mindset going into the tourney. "And I felt that we handled our business."
Farmington was reeling on the second day of the tournament against Durango, Colo. The Scorps trailed by 15 points late in the first half but charged back in the second by refocusing on defense. King had his fingerprints all over the come-from-behind victory, scoring eight of his 10 points in the second half. He also played pesky defense against the Demons' second-leading scorer, Terrence Trujillo.
"They came out shooting, and we got a little off track and lost our focus," King said. "So in the second half, we really had to step it up and play more physical defense on them, and I think that worked."
In the championship game, the Scorps didn't start out slowly; they led Piedra Vista from start to finish. King led all scorers with 19 points, 11 of which came from the free-throw line.
King excels at getting to the rim. This season, he has shot 81 percent from the free-throw line — 34 for 42 — on his way to an early-season average of 10 points per game.
"He's just so quick and so smooth, and he can get to the basket," Corley said.
King said he patterns his game after Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, who is among the best players in the NBA at getting to the free-throw line.
When King has the ball in his hands, he said he's always conscious of driving the lane and creating contact.
"The easiest way to score points is off of free throws, 'cause there's nobody there to guard you," King said. "I just try to be aggressive and draw fouls."
A year and a half ago, King moved to New Mexico from Arizona after his mom took a new job in Farmington. He played sparingly for the 20-10 Scorpions last year as a junior while point guard Alex Whiteley led the team to the state quarterfinals.
After Whiteley graduated, King knew he was in line to take over as the starter, so he worked hard over the summer to improve. Corley said King's hard work has paid off.
"He knows how to score, assist and he's an excellent free-throw shooter," Corley said. "The biggest improvement he made was probably his outside shooting. He's hit a couple really big threes for us this year. And he's really taken over the leadership role as that point guard. Kind of stepped into the place of Alex Whiteley."
With seven seniors on the roster and no underclassmen, the Scorps aren't short on leaders. King, one of the team captains, has done a better job of being vocal in his senior year, but he mostly does his part by leading by example on the court.
"When I got here, one of the things I wanted to do was become a leader," King said. "I try to lead the team as a point guard by doing what I need to do to help us win, like not turning the ball over."
King also leads Farmington with his attitude. He keeps his emotions in check on the court, no matter if he's hit with a questionable foul call or drains a shot to take the lead late in a game.
Part of King's humble demeanor can be attributed to Corley's coaching. King doesn't try to make the game about himself, just like his coach preaches.
"One thing coach always tells me is to not try and play the hero," King said. "To always play true to yourself and within yourself and just know your teammates always got your back."
Since losing their season opener, the Scorpions have won five straight games and currently sit in first place in District 1-5A. To get to the state finals, they need King to keep doing what he's been doing.
"He just needs to continue to lead our team," Corley said. "A lot of it starts here in practice. If he keeps leading the way he's led in practice, it'll translate into the confidence on the court that the other kids have in him."
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.
A closer look: Tyren King
1. Favorite team?
"Los Angeles Lakers."
2. Favorite athlete?
3. Favorite food?
4. Favorite movie?
"Bad Boys II."
5. Favorite subject in school?
6. Least favorite subject?
7. Biggest fear?
8. Do you play any other sports?
9. What is the first thing you would do with $1 million?
10. Do you have any pregame rituals?
"I take a 30-minute nap."