That youth movement that is about to take over the Colorado men’s basketball program still will be able to lean on the Buffaloes’ top returning scorer and rebounder.
As expected, George King will return to CU for his fifth-year senior season in 2017-18. Though well off the radar on most draft prognostications, King nonetheless declared for the NBA draft without hiring an agent. King is expected to withdraw his name from the draft pool by the May 24 deadline.
King is coming off a season in which his scoring numbers and shooting percentage fell, yet he emerged as the Buffs’ leading rebounder. King will be CU’s top returning scorer, as he ranked third at 11.1 points per game. King averaged a team-best 6.8 rebounds, a jump from 4.7 the previous season.
In 2016-16 King was a breakout star for the Buffs following a redshirt year, recording eight 20-point games while leading the Pac-12 Conference with a .456 3-point percentage — the second-best single-season mark in CU history. King averaged 13.6 points and was named the league’s Most Improved Player.
While King’s scoring dip coincided with a drop in his 3-point accuracy — he shot .379 this past year — his overall field goal percentage actually jumped slightly from .446 to .460. Perimeter shots were more difficult to share this past season with the rotation addition of two 3-point shooters absent the previous year, Xavier Johnson and Derrick White.
King’s return provides a solid bedrock amid what otherwise will be a much younger CU team in 2017-18. King was voted his team’s most inspirational player this past season, and his leadership voice could be more impactful next year with a younger roster and the graduation of four fifth-year seniors.
King will begin his senior season 120 points shy of the career 1,000-point mark. With 119 career made 3-pointers, King needs just six more to join the Buffs’ top 10 all-time leaders.