USC basketball: Former Mater Dei star Taylor King to transfer to USC

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Former Santa Ana Mater Dei star forward Taylor King, one of the top five all-time scoring leaders in California high school history who notably committed to UCLA as an eighth grader only to decommit once in high school, will be coming to USC.

King, who first attended Duke and then transferred to Villanova, told USC coaches of his decision Tuesday night after visiting the campus Monday. He will have to sit out next season, per NCAA transfer rules, and will have one year of eligibility remaining for the 2011-12 season.

‘I felt it suited me best to be at USC because of the long-term deal,’ he said in a phone interview. ‘I’m a communications major and I hope to do something in the film industry and USC has the No. 1 film school in America. It’s not like it was a no-brainer, but it was a great spot for me to go.


King transferred to Villanova in 2008 after one season at Duke, and after sitting out one season, he played in 32 games for the Wildcats in 2009-10, averaging 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds (second-best on the team) in 19 minutes per game. He also shot 36% from three-point grange.

The 6-6, 230-pound former McDonald’s All-American reportedly left Villanova last month after after violating team rules, but he declined to clarify what happened there or at Duke.

‘I’m not going to comment on the past,’ he said.

USC officials are not allowed to comment on King until he enrolls there once school starts Aug. 23.

USC is out of scholarships so King will count as a walk-on next season, in which he will have to pay his own way. He’ll be on scholarship the season after that.

King gained great fame for committing to UCLA as a 15-year-old, but he opened up his recruitment after his first season at Mater Dei, and later committed to Duke. After one season there, he transferred to Villanova.

For this most recent decision, King also considered Azusa Pacific and Concordia, both NAIA schools. Had he decided to transfer to either of them, he would have been eligible immediately rather than having to sit out a year as he will do at USC. He said playing for the Trojans will make it worth it.


‘I’m really excited about it,’ he said. ‘I’m excited to be home and to be next to my parents and my family.’

While at Mater Dei, King, a Huntington Beach native, scored 3,214 points, the fourth-most in California prep history and the Orange County career scoring record. He also grabbed 1,224 rebounds and was a three-time all-state and all-county selection. He was also named California’s Mr. Basketball as a senior, when he averaged 26.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game and led Mater Dei to the California Division II state title.

-- Baxter Holmes