At 6 feet 4 inches and 240 pounds, Juneau-Douglas senior power forward De’Andre “Jazz” King provides a big body down low for the Crimson Bears.
King, a Thunder Mountain High School transfer, is averaging double figures in points per game to go with nearly eight rebounds per contest and is coming off an MVP performance in last week’s Capital City Classic. He said he’s had valuable experiences at both TMHS and JDHS but is now focused on bringing home a title for the Bears.
When King isn’t powering his way in the paint for JDHS he enjoys having a clipboard in hand on the sideline.
Do you play any other sports besides basketball?
“No. I played soccer and baseball when I was younger, but I thought I did better in basketball so I decided to stick with that.”
Talk about some of the differences between playing at Thunder Mountain compared to JDHS?
“Playing at Thunder Mountain was a good experience. Coach (John) Blasco knew what he was doing, and we had a bond where he was a coach and a buddy at the same time. He knew when to have fun and when to be serious. And then coming back here, it’s more of “team basketball,” which I like more.”
What caused you to transfer to TMHS after your freshman year?
“Going to Thunder Mountain, I just wanted to get more playing time because last year (JDHS) had all the big guys. They had (Eric) Sele, (Paul) Tupou, Lawrence (Fenumiai) and Evan (Gross).”
And why back to JDHS this year?
“(TMHS) said I didn’t have the right classes because I was in the wrong cycle. They do two years of World Literature and World History and two years of American Literature and American History. It was completely academic.”
What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not playing basketball?
“I coach. I coach basketball at Floyd Dryden. I went to Floyd Dryden and that’s where I started playing basketball. Last year I was the C-team coach, and then they let me come back this year and I was the B-team coach. It was fun. Then we had the Fast Break Tournament, and we won that. That was pretty cool because my seventh-grade year we didn’t win it, and now I’m coaching seventh graders and they won it.
“It gives me a coaching perspective. I know what it’s like to be a player, but as a coach, I see where little mistakes are and I try to correct them. I also like to hang out with my friends and play video games.”
What are your plans for next year?
“I’d like to play basketball at the next level. My dad and I are looking at the Northwestern Conference for collegiate athletics. (I will) Start off at the community college level and then hopefully work my way up to Division I or Division II. My dad’s been helping me out a lot. He found a website to help me get recruited, and we’ve talked to recruiters and found out what steps I need to take in order to play at the next level. I’ve been looking at Southwestern Oregon Community College but there’s a lot of schools on the website that I’ve been looking at.”
Any idea what you might want to study in college?
“Hopefully to be like a P.E. teacher, because athletics are just fun. I’d like to help kids be better at sports that I wasn’t ever really good at.”
What are your expectations for this year’s team?
“This year’s team is probably the best team I’ve played with since maybe my Hooptime team in eighth grade. My expectations are to improve every game, get past the first round of the state tournament and win the championship.”