By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
FREDRICK King had his second NCAA start and produced a career night for the Creighton Blue Jays.
King finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks - all career highs - in Creighton’s 73-71 loss to Arizona State at Michelob ULTRA Arena as part of the Jack Jones Hoopfest in Las Vegas, Nevada.
King shot 8-11 from the field in 26 minutes. It was King’s second consecutive start in place of injured All Big East centre, Ryan Kalkbrenner and noted how the relationship between the two has aided his development.
“I just have to stay ready mentally and I have to be there for my team because [Kalkbrenner] is not here so I have to give my all. My team helped me to keep my confidence up,” King said. “In pracitce, play after play, even if I miss he’ll help me out. He helps me to get better everyday, no matter if we’re on the same team in scrimmages, blue or white, he’s always there for me.
In King’s first start, he finished with just four points and no rebounds in Saturday night’s 83-80 loss to BYU.
“I thought Fredrick, you know from where he came from, how nervous and anxious he had to be Saturday, and really not have things go very well, to playing the way he did [against Arizona State] I think we saw a glimpse of what’s to come in the future,” said Crieghton head coach Doug McDermott. “I’m really proud of the way he played.”
Despite King’s career high night, Creighton dropped its fifth straight game since opening the season 6-0, a stretch that included wins at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational over No. 21 Texas Tech and No. 9 Arkansas.
Creighton is now 6-5 in non-conference play.
Creighton was picked to win the BIG EAST Conference and earned its best preseason AP poll ranking ever (No. 9), thanks to the return of 10 lettermen and three starters from last year’s team that finished 23-12.
King, a 6’10” frontcourt player out of the NBA Academy (Latin America), decided on the Blue Jays over the BYU Cougars, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Utah Utes..
In exhibition play, King had 10 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in a 109-97 win over Drury.
Through 11 regular season games thus far, King has averaged 4.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game while shooting 59 percent from the field.
Prior to the season, the true freshman and Andros native said he hoped to learn from and lend support to the 7’1” Kalkbrenner.
“[Kalkbrenner] is a great player. He’s bigger than everybody else. I’ll come in after him,” King said. “I’ll be able to help inside while also working on multiple skills.”