Kyle King is the loneliest, sturdiest man on the University of Puget Sound men’s basketball team.
He lives a solitary life on a painted island.
It’s called the low block.
The Loggers are long-range-shooting happy — they rank inside the top 40 nationally in 3-pointers attempted (559, ranks 33rd) and 3-pointers made (198, ranks 39th) in NCAA Division III.
King, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound transfer from NCAA Division II Regis University in Colorado, represents the closest thing UPS has to an inside presence. He is more of a natural wing player, but he has to man the middle for the Loggers.
“He has great footwork. He is very strong, the strongest player on our team,” UPS coach Justin Lunt said. “He has great touch from 15 feet and in, and he can finish with both hands.
“He is starting to play well because he is starting to slow things down.”
King is coming off a career night — 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting — in the team’s most recent game, a 100-89 loss at Willamette on Saturday.
In fact, King has scored in double figures in three of the past four UPS games, averaging 13.3 points.
“As the season has gone on, my teammates and I have started to develop more trust in each other,” King said. “We are sharing the basketball a lot more. … There is no doubt when everyone can contribute offensively, we have a lot more potential to win games.”
Right at the end of the first semester — and in the first month of basketball in November — a buddy of King saw him on campus and asked him if he knew which statistical category he led the country in.
King shrugged his shoulders.
“My buddy told me I was No. 1 in the country in disqualifications,” said King, who fouled out in four of his first five games, playing a grand total of 51 minutes as the starting center.
But in the second half of the Northwest Conference season, as King has learned how to stay on the court, he has been a valuable contributor.
Lunt said the junior plays much like Rex Nelson, an undersized all-NWC power forward for the Loggers in 2014.
And now, if UPS guards suffer through a minutes-long spell of missing 3-pointers, Lunt knows King has the ability to get easy points inside and settle down the offense.
“We think he actually makes our shooters go,” Lunt said.
King said he is intent on being the “smallest post player ever” to start at UPS, one who is as valuable as any regular coming down the stretch of the regular season.
“My role is just as important as the other four guys on the floor,” King said. “I do not do anything spectacular. I try and keep my game really simple and solid.”