Hurricane basketball has become the surprise sports talk of campus after impressive victories at home over N.C. State and Florida State and a formidable showing in front of a nation of ESPN viewers against Duke on Jan. 19.
Speaking of home court, the Convocation Center has become the “eye of the storm” for the student body as the Category 5-sponsored Hurricane Force grows with each game. The players have been embraced by Hurricane Force by not only attendance, but also by having their names spread through the student section on T-shirts, signage and even a tuba in the band. One sign explains the impact a sophomore has had so far on the ‘Canes this season: “Not in my KINGdom.”
Standing at 6’9″, Anthony King, in his first year as the starting center, has been the enforcer in the paint the ‘Canes needed to balance with their guard play. King is second in the ACC in blocked shots behind Duke’s Shelden Williams and fourth in total rebounds and had the University’s first triple-double against Florida Atlantic.
A native of Durham, N.C., King grew up in the middle of the Mecca of college basketball, Cameron Indoor Stadium, on the campus of Duke. The Tobacco Road address placed King near three college basketball powerhouses: Duke, Wake Forest and North Carolina.
King got his start in basketball in a recreational league back as a student in elementary school. While playing prep basketball at Southern Durham High, he averaged a double-double in every game, including five blocks as a dominating power forward, and led his team to three consecutive conference titles. A computer science major, the young center spends time at his Coral Gables address online speaking to family and friends on campus and back home via instant messenger. One online trend on campus that King does not participate in is TheFacebook.com.
“From what I heard about Facebook with all these different things like messaging random people, fan clubs and poking everybody, I didn’t want to mess with it,” King said. “I don’t mess with the Facebook.”
A big fan of rap music, on the team’s road trips King likes to listen to songs that get him ready to play, like one of his current favorites from T.I. ,titled “Bring ‘Em Out,” the same song that plays on the P.A. of the Convocation Center to begin player introductions for the Hurricanes, a crowd favorite.
Some of King’s most anticipated games this year are against North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest. At the Dean Dome in Chapel Hil, King got into foul trouble early, which disappointed him.
“I got two quick fouls and I had to sit most of the first half on the bench with family and friends watching me,” King said.
Now weighing in at 229 pounds, King is getting stronger. His work ethic is a combination of his love for the game and desire to win, which he shares with his head coach.
“Like Coach Haith always says, ‘the next game is the biggest game.'”
Rodolfo Tomarchio can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org