Columbus North boys basketball coach Paul Ferguson was thinking of ways to get Alex King more involved in the offense before the season when he had an idea.
The 6-foot-8 King would spend a good portion of the time playing the point for the Bull Dogs.
The idea paid off in an improved season for North and big year for King. He is this year’s The Republic Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
“It’s great being a 6-8 point guard,” King said. “You can see the whole floor. It’s awesome distributing to my teammates and having the opportunity to score and at the same time, crash and get rebounds.”
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King led the Bull Dogs with 18.3 points and 7.3 rebounds a game. He added 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals.
When King grabbed a rebound, he often turned it into a fast-break opportunity.
“He just had a nice feel for getting our break going,” Ferguson said. “He did a nice job getting us into our stuff. He took on the challenge of being our point guard, which isn’t his primary position, but we needed him to play that, and it just shows his unselfishness. He’s willing to play whatever role he could for our team to be successful.”
After going 10-14 last season, Ferguson’s first at North, the Bull Dogs went 15-9 this year. They won 10 of their last 13 following a 5-5 start.
A loss to eventual sectional champion Bloomington South in the opening round cut short what North hoped would be an extended season.
“I thought the season went pretty well,” King said. “It could have gone better, but it’s a big improvement from this past season with a new coach and all new players to work with. Then learning the new offense, we just kind of settled in and played as a family rather than just as a team. I felt like we had a big improvement in that, and that translated to our play on the court.”
King has scholarship offers from multiple Division I programs, and has zeroed in on Army and Navy. He wants to go into cyber security.
Last week, King said he was very close to settling on Army.
“I like the coaching staff quite a bit,” King said. “I enjoyed the team when I was there. I like the campus, and I’m really looking at later in life, and that place is going to set you up with the relationships, the jobs and everything. It’s a big network of people that are all tightly bonded because they all went through the same experience at West Point.”
Ferguson said that while he could count on King for almost a double-double each night, he was most proud of his development and growth as a leader.
“We talked a lot about that the last two years,” Ferguson said. “As a coaching staff, we were just thrilled to see how far he had come by the end of the season. I’m very proud of the season that Alex had and really excited for the growth I saw as a player and as a person, especially in the leader he became for us. A college is going to be getting a very good player next year, and we’re going to miss him in our program.”
The Republic All-Area Boys Basketball team:
Alex King, Columbus North: The senior led the Bull Dogs with 18.3 points and 7.3 rebounds and added 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals.
Zach Green, Columbus North: The senior averaged 8.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.9 steals.
Nathan VanDeventer, Columbus North: The senior averaged 6.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.7 steals.
Tanner McFall, Columbus East: The senior led the Olympians with 11.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals and added 2.5 assists.
Chaz Painter, Columbus East: The senior averaged 10.4 points and 4.2 rebounds.
Jonathan Foster, Columbus East: The senior averaged 9.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals and led the Olympians with 2.7 assists.
Alex Gross, Hauser: The junior led the Jets with 15.3 points and 18.9 rebounds and added 2.5 assists.
Connor Wilson, Hauser: The senior averaged 15.2 points, 2.7 points, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals.
Mason Sherman, Hauser: The junior averaged 10.8 points and 2.7 rebounds and led the Jets with 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals.
Tyler Vogel, Jennings County: The senior led the Panthers with 19.9 points and 7.5 rebounds and added 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals.
Nick AmRhein, Jennings County: The senior averaged 9.8 points, 1.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.3 steals.
Matt Cornett, South Decatur: The junior led the Cougars with 20.5 points and 11.4 rebounds.
Logan Roth, Columbus Christian: The senior led the Crusaders with 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds.
Brown County: Josh Cochran, Jordan Samples, Ezra Scully. Columbus Christian: Blake Barker. Columbus East: Thomas Myers, Max Nolting. Columbus North: Jaylen Flemmons, Trey Vincent. Edinburgh: Coltan Henderson. Hauser: Justin Compton. Jennings County: Bret Sawyer. Trinity Lutheran: Chad Stuckwisch, Colton Wischmeier.