George King feels satisfied with the way he passed his first test.

Yet this weekend will present a bigger challenge on a bigger stage in King's quest to land an opportunity to compete for an NBA roster spot.

On Wednesday, King is scheduled to fly to Virginia to participate in the 66th annual Portsmouth Invitational, a showcase that brings together 64 college basketball seniors for four days of competition before the scrutiny of scouts and front office personnel.

Last year, former Colorado star Derrick White used a standout performance at the Portsmouth Invitational to catapult a pre-draft campaign that ended with his first-round selection (29th overall) by the San Antonio Spurs.

Even at this early stage, King isn't garnering nearly the same buzz as White. Yet after an MVP performance during the National Association of Basketball Coaches all-star game at the Final Four almost two weeks ago, King has momentum on his side in the quest to create his own buzz.

"We didn't get to make the tournament, and a lot of scouts and teams are watching guys who are in the tournament," King said. "For players like myself who were not playing in the tournament, you start to get lost in the shuffle. You start to get pushed back a little and pushed back in those scouts' minds. You sort of become forgotten about. The NABC All-Star game gave me a chance to go refresh those guys' memories.


"I was able to execute that. Going forward, I've maybe created a little buzz about myself now. There's an even bigger opportunity now going into Virginia."

King plays his first game on Thursday, and while he is the only Pac-12 Conference player on his team's roster, a number of familiar league foes will line up across from King. That list includes UCLA's Thomas Welsh, USC's Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart, Cal's Marcus Lee, Oregon's Elijah Brown, Arizona's Dusan Ristic, and Arizona State guards Tra Holder and Shannon Evans.

At the NABC All-Star game, King was named the Most Outstanding Player for the East team after recording 21 points, nine rebounds, and three blocked shots while going 8-for-11 from the field.

King continues to go through individual workouts with CU assistant basketball coach Kim English, a second-round pick of the Detroit Pistons in 2012. English has implored King to focus on showcasing the skills that set him apart from the pack — King finished his CU career ranked second all-time in program history in 3-point percentage and 14th in total rebounds — instead of fretting over the idea of smoothing over his weaknesses. King did just that with his performance at the NABC all-star game and hopes to continue that approach this week at the Portsmouth Invitational.

"I can shoot a little bit. Block some shots, play defense," King said. "And I can rebound. Those are the things I did. I'm proud of myself and thankful for Kim English telling me those things before I went out there."

Pat Rooney: or