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Sophomore Emma King coping with pressure of big-time scholarship offers

Emma King and her father, Jeff, with UK coach Matthew Mitchell at a UK football game last season.

By LARRY VAUGHT

STANFORD — When you are only a sophomore at a high school not used to having athletes offered Division I scholarships, I wondered what impact that might have on the athlete’s season.

That’s why I asked Lincoln County sophomore Emma King recently how her season has been after she got scholarship offers from Kentucky, Florida and others during the summer and also has big-time interest from Louisville.

“I am enjoying the season a lot and not thinking a lot about the scholarship and not focusing on that. If I do, it takes my focus away from game, so I don’t think about it,” King said. “Sure, people talk to me about it but I try not to get too caught up in it.”

Her team is 13-5 and she’s averaging about 16 points and 4 rebounds per game. Not bad numbers, but many thought they would be better after the Division I offers. She’s also not happy overall with her 3-point shooting.

“I know I need to get my 3-point percentage up. I started out kind of rough, but recently it has been better. When that shot is open, I have to take it. If I take my shots, it opens more for everybody else, especially when I hit them. People put a label on me as a shooter, so I know i have that expectation and that is what I need to do for my team,” King said.

“I need to work on rebounding more and my effort all the way around because sometimes I take plays off and I can’t be doing that. I just need to be a better all-around player and not focus on scoring but on the overall game. Coach does not put too much pressure on. But sometimes I try to do too much, and that is something I have to work on.”

One of her strengths is her all-out effort and energy she has on the court. When I’ve watched her this year, I’ve wondered if she was having fun since she seldom smiled during a game.

“Some games we could do more, but we do have fun. It’s different the year. I put more pressure on myself this year than I did last year. I knew then I was just a freshman and would go in and do whatever I could do. Now I put more pressure on myself, but I can’t take the fun out of the game,” King said.

Coaches cannot contact her in any form until Sept. 1 other than to take a call if she contacts them. However, she has tried to watch all the teams that have shown interest in her play this season.

“I have gone to a bunch of UK games since it is so close. I have been trying to get to Louisville,” she said. “It’s not that easy to get to Florida.

“I really like Kentucky. I like coach (Matthew) Mitchell and all of his staff. They have been doing great. They have had fun games to watch and their effort is just incredible.”

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