King aims to bounce back, eager to showcase off-season training

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Photo by Collin Nawrocki

Redshirt sophomore guard Jordan King.

Walking into practice at the Al McGuire Center, Marquette women’s basketball redshirt sophomore guard Jordan King stares up at the 2017 BIG EAST Champions banner wondering if she can deliver one herself.

When Marquette tips-off the 2021-22 season against Alcorn State Nov. 9, it will mark King’s third season with the program.

The Rockton, Illinois, native is coming off an up and down sophomore season where she averaged 9.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 26 games for the Golden Eagles.

King said she spent the summer improving her game, specifically the scoring aspect as it has been inconsistent throughout her two-year career.

“Just the way I continue to work on my pull-up game, getting stronger really was a big key to just to be able to handle some of the physicality inside with finishing,” King said.

Along with finishing, King’s main focus was also on improving her 3-point shooting. Over the course of her two seasons with the Golden Eagles, King has shot 25.5% for her career from beyond the arc.

As a team, the Golden Eagles struggled from beyond the arc last season finishing ninth in the BIG EAST in 3-pointers made per game (4.2). She said she hopes she can add this element to her game to the Golden Eagle offense.

With a 34-point loss to UConn in the BIG EAST Tournament Championship and a first round exit in the NCAA Tournament, the end of last season was filled with heartbreaks for the Golden Eagles.

After scoring only two points against UConn, King said she hopes she can redeem herself this season and not dwell on the past.

“We pride ourselves on being in that BIG EAST Championship game, it’s obviously a hard road to get there. The next step is winning that game,” King said. “It’s going to take a different type of dedication, grit, sacrifice, all the things that we talked about every day.”

Facing UCONN has not been easy for the Golden Eagles as they have lost all eleven games they have played against the Huskies dating back to 2007, including three times last season. The Golden Eagles have only averaged 48.55 points a game going up against the Huskies through the eleven games, so King is ready to get a chance for her first win over the basketball powerhouse.

“Playing teams like that is great experience great exposure to play some of the top players in the country, and when you do, I think you got to bring your A game, you got to be ready for what they bring in, and I know, our team will be ready to do that.” King said.

Heading into her first year at Marquette back in 2019, the guard was thrown a curveball. After playing the wing position throughout her high school and AAU careers, Duffy moved her to point guard as the team had a hole in the position. Then last year, King moved between both the wing and running the point.

King said she welcomed both changes to her position, but this season she has an opportunity to play off the ball more with the addition of graduate transfer guard Karissa McLaughlin.

“She (Karissa) allows Jordan to kind of get off the ball a little bit more so I could see her being more aggressive off ball screens and going to the basket,” redshirt junior forward Chloe Marotta said.

Marotta, one of King’s closest friends, has seen King grow into a great leader, a role she believes King can thrive in this year.

“As a point guard, Jordan has a great voice, and so she really uses it to lead this team,” Marotta said. “She also has a great IQ for the game so the knowledge that she brings to our team is just incredible.”

Marotta is not the only one who thinks King can have a breakout season.

Assistant coach Kelly Komara, who enters her first season on Duffy’s staff, said King brings a wealth of versatility to the guard position.

“One of the things that Jordan brings to the table that’s so important is her competitiveness,” Komara said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re doing a simple shooting drill or scrimmaging, her willingness to put everybody else ahead of herself and and be a leader is major for Jordan.”

Komara, who was a former point guard at Purdue University, said she’s bonded well with King over the course of the off-season.

Having experience playing point guard, Komara has been a big help for King to navigate the position.

“I have a picture in my office of my first collegiate shot, I nailed a three against Tennessee my freshman year,” Komara said. “I told her that story, because it was just a fearless moment. And I think sometimes players hold themselves back and I just encourage her to to play fearless and don’t hold yourself back.”

King said heading into this season, she is looking to become more consistent with her scoring.

“That will be huge for me this season,” King said. “I think that the two biggest things that I really want to improve this season is my strength as well as my inside out game and that’s what I dedicated myself to the summer.”

Golden Eagles’ play will look different this year with the loss of star guard Selena Lott, who opted not to use the extra year of eligibility given by the NCAA due to COVID-19 to start a professional career. With this, comes the need of someone to step up and take her place leading the offense.

Duffy said she sees King leading the way.

“Jordan’s going to be on the floor and she’ll thrive anywhere on the court for us,” Duffy said. “With losing Selena, she’s going to have a few more opportunities on the offensive end. I like her at both guard positions, because she has so much experience running our team.”

King said she is ready to step up to the challenge and feels that this is her moment to prove that she can play with the best.

“Previously, Marquette basketball is seeing me at that point guard spot a lot,” King said. “But having other players handle the ball more and putting me out on the wing sometimes will allow that versatility. And I think that will really work well off of each other.”

This story was written by Kristin Parisi. She can be reached at kristin.parisi@marquette.edu or on Twitter @kristinparisimu.