The Collegian
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

OPINION | You dropped your crown, Jordan King

<p>Graphic by Annie Scalet/The Collegian</p>

Graphic by Annie Scalet/The Collegian

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of The Collegian. 

In a college basketball climate dominated by the transfer portal and NIL-motivated moves, there are more and more players who transfer into different programs. 

And for some – like a guest star appearance on a television show – their stay is short-lived, perhaps only for an episode or two. But it’s memorable nonetheless. 

That was the case for graduate guard Jordan King and the University of Richmond men’s basketball team this season. From the moment he laced up his shoes for the first time at the Robins Center, Spider fans were in for something special. 

And it lasted all season. 

He scored 34 points in his debut against the Virginia Military Institute. He had a team-high 17 points when the Spiders knocked off No. 16 Dayton University

And against Virginia Commonwealth University, he hit 3-pointers, falling away from the basket and in front of the face of former Spider guard Jason Nelson when the Spiders took down the Rams in a feat of vengeance during this year’s iteration of the Capital City Classic at the Robins Center. 

All season, it was Jordan King, bringing excitement into the Robins Center reminiscent of the excitement surrounding UR’s 2022 Atlantic 10 Championship and NCAA Tournament team.

In a short blip of time, King captured A-10 Conference Player of the Week honors on three separate occasions, he won A-10 Co-Player of the Year and he made the A-10 First Team All-Conference, as well as the A-10 All-Academic Team. 

Just when the Spiders lost their star player, Tyler Burton, to the transfer portal and ultimately Villanova University, King filled the gap almost instantly, working with fellow transfers senior guard DeLonnie Hunt, graduate center Neal Quinn and graduate forward Zae Bigelow, as well as fellow starter, senior guard Dji Bailey, to get the program back into A-10 contention. 

Regardless of the end result—a devastating loss to Saint Joseph’s University in the quarterfinal round of the A-10 Tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, followed by a first-round loss in the NIT to Virginia Tech—it was nothing short of a special season. 

And it all goes back to Jordan King – a 6-foot guard who, believe it or not, was a walk-on at his first collegiate stop, Siena College. 

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From walk-on to co-A-10 Player of the Year–electric doesn’t even begin to describe it. Jordan King was the one who reignited the spark in UR’s men’s basketball program. 

It was always a question of how the Spiders would function after a 2021-2022 season saw a cluster of super seniors rise to the occasion and give the fanbase its first March Madness appearance since 2011. 

That team had been marinating for so long, with players staying at UR for four, five, and in some cases, even six seasons to ultimately accomplish such a long-sought-after goal. 

And after last season with a 15-18 finish, there were questions coming into this season about how the Spiders would fare, given the fact that their roster was made up of more transfers than ever before.

But King silenced all those questions. In 33 games, he made his mark, and as someone who follows Spider basketball religiously, I salute him. 

And while his guest star appearance may be over, and his dressing room, or in this case, locker, will be cleaned out when he graduates, his name will reverberate through the floorboards of Dick Tarrant Court for years and years to come. 

So, pick up your crown, Jordan King, and wear it with pride. 

Contact sports editor Jimmy James at jimmy.james@richmond.edu.

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