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November 5, 2010

ASU's King draws inspiration from mom

ALSO: ASU's Bachynski overcomes long odds

Jordan Bachynski isn't the only Arizona State freshman who overcame plenty of obstacles to get to this point.

Guard Keala King developed into the No. 26 prospect in the 2010 recruiting class while taking inspiration from his mother, who is battling breast cancer.

"I talk to her every day," King said. "She pretty much motivates me to do more, to want to be at school and accomplish all those goals everyone sets for me."

King, a 6-foot-5 guard, could deliver the biggest immediate impact of Arizona State's seven newcomers. He has the ability to play multiple positions, and his versatility should allow him to help the Sun Devils in a variety of ways.

"He handles the ball exceptionally well," Arizona State assistant Dedrique Taylor said. "He rebounds his position exceptionally well. He makes shots. He's not a pure knockdown 3-point shooter, but he makes '3s.' He has great size. He can go to the post and post guards up.

"He's just one of those guys who do a lot of things well. I wouldn't say he does one thing great, but he does a lot of things well. He's a gamer. When it's on the line, he shows up."

King said he owes that competitive spirit in part to his mother. He admits he didn't always take basketball as seriously as he should. He didn't lift weights particularly often, instead simply relying on his natural ability. He has since changed his attitude.

King started attacking the game the same way his mom has fought cancer. He has upgraded his conditioning and has honed his skills while learning from the example of older teammates such as senior guard Ty Abbott.

"I pretty much started thinking I have to be an adult now," King said. "I have to be mature and become a man instead of acting like a little kid, like I was in high school."

Arizona State's NCAA tournament hopes could rest in part on how fast he grows up.

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.

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