The love affair with Taylor King as a prospect never made much sense to me.
I'm not writing that to pile on.
|Taylor King seems to miss way more shots than he makes. (Getty Images)|
I was half-right.
King did spend a year on the bench at Duke and decide to transfer out of Mike Krzyzewski's program. But rather than move back west to a lower-level school, King transferred further east to another high-major program. He proved to be a good (not great) shooter and role player at Villanova, but now he's no longer a member of the Wildcats. The school described King's removal from the team as voluntary, but you tell me the last time a healthy player who averaged 19 minutes a game up and quit hoops in the final week of June?
Things just don't work that way.
Regardless, King's career has fizzled at the high-major level.
But that it hardly mattered to Duke and should hardly matter to Villanova suggests what I figured all along is true -- that Taylor King is a nice player but not quite as nice as he's forever been described. His reputation has long exceeded his value, and I can't help but wonder whether things would've gone differently -- and been much easier -- if he'd never been placed on a stage where he so clearly didn't belong.
Honestly, it's the same way I felt about Greg Paulus.
I loved Greg Paulus.
(I still love Greg Paulus.)
But I always believed the abuse Paulus took in four years at Duke could be directly attributed to how he was incorrectly labeled out of high school. Like King, Paulus was a McDonald's All-American and more heralded than Mario Chalmers, Darren Collison and every other point guard in the Class of 2005 despite lacking the physical tools most top-ranked point guards possess. Paulus was never going to match the hype because he wasn't equipped to match the hype, wasn't made to be the starting point guard at Duke, wasn't built to be a future NBA player even though every other point guard Scout.com has ever ranked No. 1 -- Raymond Felton in 2002, Chris Paul in 2003, Shaun Livingston in 2004, Ty Lawson in 2006, O.J. Mayo in 2007, Brandon Jennings in 2008 and John Wall in 2009 -- has left college early (or skipped college altogether) and played in the NBA.
Simply put, Paulus was setup to fall short.
It's a testament to his character that he endured the tough times.
King apparently isn't made of the same stuff.
So here we are, his career at his second college in three years now done.
What I hope is that it teaches the folks handing out cherished things like invitations to the McDonald's All-American game to take their jobs more seriously. Bestowing that kind of honor on an obviously inferior talent doesn't do anybody any favors. It's almost certainly going to make the committee look stupid in due time, and in the meantime it'll add expectations and eyeballs to a prospect whose more likely to be just another guy than the guy at a high-major university.
That's Taylor King.
He was always going to be just another guy in college.
It would've been better for everybody had we viewed him that way from the start.