CHS grad King heading to play for Pacific (Ore.)
Offense is what sets Rafe King apart from his basketball peers.
King, a two-year star at Carson High and Columbia College, can flat out shoot the basketball, and that ability has landed him a scholarship to Division III Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.
King, who averaged 14.8 and 11.7 points a contest in his seasons at Columbia, chose Pacific over Linfield College.
“They (Pacific) started talking to me after the season,” said King. “I was also getting looked at by Linfield College (Oregon), and it was between the two. For a time, I thought about quitting basketball, though, and just going to school at UNR, but my dad told me to stay with it.
“I visited Linfield and the next week went to Pacific. I liked the campus and coaches and the counselors there (Pacific) were good. They seemed more interested in me. I’m not going to play in the NBA, and this is a good educational college.”
King said he plans to major in exercise science with an eye toward physical therapy or being a pharmacist after that.
Pacific coach Tim Cleary, a former assistant at Boise State under Greg Graham, is happy to have King in the fold.
“We are very excited about Rafe joining our family here at Pacific,” Cleary said. “We look at him as a major impact player for us. Obviously he is an elite shooter, but he is much more than that as well. He has outstanding size for his position (6-3, 215) and is physically very strong. Those attributes allow him to be an excellent defender and rebounder. We are counting on him to be an explosive weapon and to have a great career here.
“He is very intelligent and has a high basketball IQ. On the personal side, Rafe has great character. He is he type of student-athlete we want to represent the university and our basketball program.”
The Boxers (12-13 last year) return six of their top 10 players from last year, including 6-3 Danny Brakebush, the leading returning scorer at 11.3 per game. Mitch Wettig, the Boxers’ leading scorer at 13.3 a game, has graduated. The Boxers shot 34.7 percent as a team from 3-point range, and that’s an area where King could make an immediate impact. He shot more than 41 percent from long range during his career at Columbia, and he is deadly against zone defenses.
King indicated he’ll be a shooting guard/small forward for the Boxers. He said the Boxers’ offense was more like what he ran during his days at Carson.
“They (the coaches) were showing me some film and what I’d be playing,” King said. “I would have options to not only shoot the 3 coming off screens, but I could drive or dump the ball inside to the post player. All I did at Columbia was shoot 3s. He (Cleary) showed me options I would have. I liked the offense.
“Basically all I’ve ever been is a 2 or 3. I need to work on my defense. I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’ll work on it.”
King admitted defending small forwards would be a little easier than shooting guards. He won’t be giving up quite as much quickness.
The former Carson star said he enjoyed his time at Columbia, but it was disappointing to not have more success on the floor.
“It was fun and I liked my teammates,” King said.
“I wish we could have won more. We would have gotten more (4-year) exposure.”
King now has a chance to make the most of his final two years of competitive basketball, and he’s looking ahead to the challenge of playing at the four-year level.