For awhile now, we’ve been thinking that the Syracuse recruiting landscape at the wing position for the class of 2016 would come down to Tyus Battle and Jamal Murray. Well, there’s a new player in the game, and his name is VJ King. King, who played for the USA U17 team and recently transferred from St. Mary’s-St. Vincent’s in Ohio (you know it better as LeBron’s old school) to Paul VI in Virginia, has never seemed to be in Syracuse’s plans but apparently things have changed. One of the key factors? Well, we’re speculating, but it could just be one of his new teammates.
That’s because when King suits up for Paul VI, he’ll be playing alongside current Syracuse commit Franklin Howard, meaning he’ll have a full year to develop some chemistry and hopefully a strong relationship with the future Orange guard. King is a consensus top 20 player, ranked as highly as 12 by Scout and also ranked 16 by ESPN.
So what do we know about VJ King? Well, other than the fact that if you squint his name looks like “Viking” we also know that he’s 6-7 and about 180, so in other words he fits the prototype of the Syracuse swingman. The book on King is that he’s a silky smooth wing player with a great skill set at this stage of his development, and is a solid athlete as well. But the biggest thing the experts seem to like is his combination of length and shooting ability.
It’s certainly always nice to find a kid who, at 6-7, can stick it from long range, and even in the mid range, and King seems to fit that bill very nicely. It’ll be interesting to see how his recruitment impacts Tyus Battle of course, with the rumors that Battle is hoping to be the lone guard in the class of 2016, but with his size there’s no reason that King couldn’t turn into a great small forward for Syracuse. However, with his skill set and skinny frame, right now he seems to be much closer to a shooting guard, and would need to add some bulk to be able to play on the wing of the 2-3 zone.
Since this is really the first we’ve looked into King this is obviously far from an extensive report on the kid, but once we get some more insight, and as the season gets closer and we learn just how interested he is in the Orange, we’ll revisit his situation. After all, an offer doesn’t automatically mean he’s keen on Syracuse right now, especially when he’s already boasting offers from programs like Arizona, Kentucky, UConn, Michigan State, UCLA, and Ohio State. Still, the fact that we’re getting in on him and he’s about to team up with Howard certainly can’t hurt our chances at landing this stud.
So yes, Syracuse fans, start thinking about some combination of Tyus Battle, Matt Moyer (who has long since verbaled), King, Murray, and Harry Giles and you’re looking at an absolutely monster recruiting class.
And now, we’ll leave you with a little bit of King in action so you can get a sense for the kind of talent Jim Boeheim, Mike Hopkins, and particularly in this recruitment, Red Autry are circling: