Versatile King leading way for Rams this season

Strasburg's Justin King goes up against Central's Luke Estep under the basket during second quarter action on Jan. 19 in Strasburg. King has helped lead a young Strasburg team to seven wins this season. Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG — Justin King does a little bit of everything for Strasburg’s boys basketball team.

The senior shooting guard is one of the team’s top rebounders, top scorers, top passers and top defensive players.

“Justin does several things that benefit us,” Strasburg boys basketball coach Larry Fox said. “He scores. He likes to get other kids involved. And on the defensive side of the ball — you don’t see a lot of kids that truly enjoy it. I think that’s one of his true passions is playing defense. And really that creates offense, not only for himself but also for his teammates. He really gets after it and gets steals. He does a really good job of being an overall very productive player.”

King leads Strasburg in steals, averaging 2.2 per contest.

King said that he loves playing defense and knows it’s a big part of the game.

“It’s not all about the offense, defense wins games,” King said. “If you can keep on getting stops you can score more. And if you can score more you can get more of your team involved.”

King said he didn’t begin playing organized basketball until he was in seventh grade and played for the middle school team.

Last year King moved up from Strasburg’s junior varsity team to the varsity squad. He said it was a good experience.

“It was a lot different than JV,” King said. “It was a lot tougher competition.”

Last year King led the Rams in assists, averaging 2.9 per game.

The 5-foot-9 guard said that this season he feels much more comfortable on the floor for the Rams.

“It feels a lot better,” King said. “Confidence is a big thing. I’m a lot more confident. Just from the first game of the season I just felt a lot more comfortable. The game kind of slows down, you get the hang of it.”

King and sophomore point guard Dylan Hamrick give the Rams a strong backcourt.

King is capable of bringing the ball up the floor if Hamrick is out of the game and Fox said that the pair work well together.

“Dylan’s more of a, you could almost say throwback player,” Fox said. “Where he wants to play a little more of a half-court (offense), and Justin’s more of a get out and go. And I think they’re both starting to be on the same page. I’ve kind of started to preach a little bit we got to speed the pace of play up a little bit. And it kind of benefits Justin a little bit more, because he’s more of an open-court type of guy. He loves to slash, and he loves the transition game.”

King said he enjoys passing the ball and getting an as assist as much as he does scoring.

“I feel like one of the best parts of my game is definitely passing, seeing the court, finding the open man,” King said. “It’s not all about scoring for me. It’s getting everybody involved, getting your team going.”

King is second on the team, averaging 10 points per game,  and third overall in the area in rebounding, averaging 5.7 per game. He said he enjoys that aspect of the game as well.

“I might not be the tallest, but I can get up there,” King said. “It’s just going after the ball and being aggressive. Always going aggressive and fast and playing as hard as you can.”

The Rams won three games last year, and have already won seven this season.

King said that going through the struggles last year have made the team’s success this year even sweeter.

“It’s been great, it’s been much better,” King said. “We have great chemistry on the team. We’re getting better each and every game. The feeling of winning is a lot different than last year.”