In his first three seasons, Yates Center senior Aaron King has already eclipsed 1,000 career points and helped turn around the Wildcats. Last season, he delivered 22 points and six rebounds a game.
The 6-foot-3, 175-pound King ranked as the second-best Class 2A scorer in Kansas and trailed only St. Francis’ Tate Busse, the leading scorer for all classes. Busse is currently a redshirt freshman for the Wichita State basketball team.
King, with a 33-inch vertical leap, was one of three unanimous first team all-conference Three Rivers League selections, along with Jayhawk-Linn’s Brandon Gray and Colony Crest’s Hayden Hemreck.
“The reason I am such a force as a player is my length, size, and ability to shoot the basketball,” King said. “That along with a defensive mindset throughout the entire game and unselfish play on the offensive side make me a force with every game that I play.”
Yates Center finished 18-4, 10-1 with a Three Rivers League title with coach Tanner Davis but has first-year coach Jason Graf this season. YC returns two starters.
“Other key players on the team this year are the other returning senior and an upcoming junior,” King said. “Nolan Jones, our point guard is one of my best friends and has helped the team in several categories the last 2 years. Caden Graham is our 3 guard and has really developed over the off-season and is going to be a factor this year as well.”
In sub-state, the Wildcats fell 76-68 to Maranatha Christian Academy in a matchup of two of the state’s best scorers with King and MCA sophomore Jonathan Jackson.
Jackson had 23 points in the contest. A first-year transfer, he is the brother of Justin Jackson, a former All-American at North Carolina and current Sacramento Kings players.
This winter, King looks to have an historic run for YC. The Wildcats have reached one state title game, a Class 2A runner-up finish to Moundridge in 1971.
That year, Yates Center standout Mike Peterson made the cover of Sports Illustrated for his small school success in football, basketball and baseball for YC. Peterson averaged 21.2 points per contest as a senior.
Yates Center also reached the final four in ’82 and ’07. The 2007 trip is the only state appearance since ’91, according to Kansas historian Carol Swenson. YC’s only losses last season came by one, five, five and eight points. Two years ago, the Wildcats went 20-4.
“My goals for this season are to continue to become the best player I can within my team and lead my team within the school and community,” King said.
King has a bench max of 230 pounds, squat at 320 and hang clean at 215. He can run the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds. King has no official offers to date.
In addition, King has ran on a third-place state cross country team, qualified for state track in the 400-meter relay, and collected all-league honorable mention first baseman. King is also a 4.0 GPA and can solve multiple rubix cubes.
“Even though I come from a very small town, nothing has ever been given to me,” King said. “I have had to work hard and keep a great positive mindset throughout my entire career of high school and basketball to succeed the way that I have. I am very fortunate to have the right people and support around me to continue what I love to do, and that is play basketball.”
How did you get involved in basketball?
Ever since I was four years old I had a basketball in my hand. I grew up around the game my whole life and fell in love with it ever since.
What are your goals this season?
My goals for this season are to continue to become the best player I can within my team and lead my team within the school and community.
Do you guys have a shot to make a run this year?
Yes, we fully believe we have a legitimate chance to make a run this year.
What makes you such a force as a player?
The reason I am such a force as a player is my length, size, and ability to shoot the basketball. That along with a defensive mindset throughout the entire game and unselfish play on the offensive side make me a force with every game that I play.
What’s the atmosphere like to play basketball for your school and town?
Yates Center has a great community and atmosphere for basketball and there is tremendous support at every game we play.
For anyone that hasn’t seen one of your games, why come to one?
There is a lot of passion and fight that we play with every night. Come to see the support of our community and the intensity we have on the floor.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a player?
I have always been a key offensive player and one of my core strengths is finding a way to score through any defense. My weaknesses and things I must work on is my defensive mindset throughout the entire game. Playing solid defense in the fourth quarter just as I do in the first quarter.
Who are other key players on your team?
Other key players on the team this year are the other returning senior and an upcoming junior. Nolan Jones, our point guard is one of my best friends and has helped the team in several categories the last 2 years. Caden Graham is our 3 guard and has really developed over the off-season and is going to be a factor this year as well.
Favorite thing about basketball?
My favorite thing about basketball is the special bond you make with your teammates and the experience you have throughout high school.
Do you play any other sports, tell us about that, what other positions do you play?
My junior year in high school, I only played basketball. Throughout high school, however, I have participated in track my freshman year and qualified for state in the 4x1 and I also competed in high jump. I also participated in cross country my freshman and sophomore year. I also played baseball as a first basemen my sophomore year and was first team honorable mention for baseball.
What is it like to play for your coach?
This is our coaches first year at Yates Center as our head coach. He is very focused on defense and is a very intense and an enthusiastic coach.
What did you and the team do in the off-season to become better?
To start our school has a summer weight program that is Monday-Thursday and was the start to the off season. Our team also improved at several team camps at KU, K-State, and Pittsburgh State Universities.
What interest are you seeing at the next level and what are your plans?
My plans for the next level are to experience college basketball at a level that is right for me. I am focused on getting a great education with a college athletic experience. My plans for college are to study chemistry and health and movement science and someday get a doctorate in Physical Therapy or Chiropractic.
Favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing sports?
My favorite thing to do when I am not playing sports is hang out with family and friends around the community.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself with a successful career and an experience in life that will change who I am for the better and always looking for ways to better myself as a person.
Favorite subject in school, what type of student are you, GPA?
My favorite subject in school is math and to be more specific my college algebra class, and throughout my entire high school career I have maintained a 4.0 GPA.
Who is your role model?
My role model throughout high school has been my older brother Joshua. He really taught me to work hard for everything and never back down from any challenge whether that be on a sports team or in the classroom.
Best place to eat in your town or the surrounding area?
My town only includes five places to sit down and eat and none of which are the best places to eat in my area. El Charro in Iola KS, just twenty miles from Yates Center has the best Mexican food around and I love eating and spending time with friends and family there.
One thing the average person wouldn’t know about you?
I can solve multiple rubix cubes and I am a decent bowler and love to bowl.
Anything else to add??
I come from a very small town, nothing has ever been given to me. I have had to work hard and keep a great positive mindset throughout my entire career of high school and basketball to succeed the way that I have. I am very fortunate to have the right people and support around me to continue what I love to do, and that is play basketball.