BERKELEY, Calif. — For George King, the goal is to begin the Pac-12 Conference schedule the same way he began the regular season.
A breakout star during the season's opening weeks, King has cooled somewhat of late. It's a trend the redshirt sophomore planned to reverse as the Buffs began league play late Friday night at Cal.
"I'm on the scouting reports as a shooter, but I'm still getting the same looks I was getting the first half of the season as I am right now," King said. "I'm taking the same shots, but they're just not going in right now. That won't last long."
King clearly was one of the team's pleasant surprises during CU's 11-2 start during nonconference play, taking a 14.4 points-per-game scoring average into the contest at Cal. King also began league play ranking fourth in the conference in overall 3-point percentage at .460 (29 for 63).
King erupted out of the gate, scoring 14 points off the bench in a near-upset of Iowa State in the opener and adding a career-best 27 points in the victorious second game at Auburn. Through the first six games, King averaged 17.3 points but has cooled somewhat of late, averaging 11.9 points in the seven games prior to Cal.
While King's 3-point shooting remained steady during the recent slide, he made only 3-of-12 attempts in the Buffs' two most recent games in Las Vegas before Christmas. Head coach Tad Boyle has attributed King's scoring dip to the sort of occasional poor decision-making that comes with inexperience.
"We track good shots and bad shots, and George King leads us in bad shots," Boyle said. "So I think part of it is shot selection. But if you look at his numbers overall, he's really shooting the ball well from three. It's more of his decision-making in the lane and at the rim. He's got to finish better inside the arc than he is right now. His numbers aren't like atrocious. I think George could be a 50 percent field goal shooter. He's shooting 46 percent from three. Hopefully that continues."
King occasionally has displayed a habit of forcing a bad shot immediately after a poor play at the defensive end of the floor, as if overly determined to make amends. Again, Boyle believes those habits will fade as King, coming off a redshirt season, gets more experience under his belt.
"He's got to understand you can't let one play affect the next play," Boyle said. "That's part of mental toughness and understanding the game that mistakes are in the past. You've got to learn from them and recognize them and move forward. But you can't make up for them, so to speak.
"We need George to score and we want him to be aggressive. He just has to be a better decision-maker. I think if you look at the assist-to-turnover ratio of any player, it gives you an idea of what kind of decision-maker they are. Right now, he's got some work to do in that area. It's a learning curve for him."