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Taylor King bounces back to Southern California

After stints at Duke and Villanova, the former Santa Ana Mater Dei High star plans to join the USC men's basketball program.

August 11, 2010|By Baxter Holmes

Taylor King has circled back around to Southern California.

The former Santa Ana Mater Dei High School star, who notably committed to UCLA as an eighth-grader, has told USC coaches he plans to join the men's basketball program.

King's decision marks the latest stop on a long journey for the former McDonald's All-American, whose 3,214 points are fourth most for a high school player in state history.

After committing to UCLA as a 15-year-old, King changed his mind and chose to play at Duke.

But after one season at Duke, King transferred to Villanova. And after one season there, he left last month after allegedly violating team rules.

King declined to talk about what happened at Duke and Villanova, saying he "was not going to comment on the past." He said he decided on USC because he hopes his education there will someday help him join the film industry in Southern California.

"It's not like it was a no-brainer, but it was a great spot for me to go," he said in a telephone interview.

King, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound forward, will have to sit out the upcoming season because of NCAA transfer rules. He will have one season of eligibility remaining, in the 2011-12 season, when fellow transfers Aaron Fuller (Iowa) and DeWayne Dedmon (Antelope Valley College) are expected to also become eligible.

King said he also considered Azusa Pacific and Irvine Concordia. Had he chosen to play at either of those NAIA schools, he would have been eligible to play immediately.

Because USC is out of scholarships, King will pay his own way next season and be on scholarship the season after.

A Huntington Beach native, he played in 32 games for Villanova last season, averaging 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 19 minutes a game. He shot 36% from three-point range.

USC officials are not allowed to comment on King until he enrolls once school starts Aug. 23, but King, who led Mater Dei to the Division II state title his senior year when he was selected California's Mr. Basketball, is considered a nice pickup for the program.

"I'm excited about it," King said. "I'm excited to be home and to be next to my parents and my family."

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