Like all freshmen, George King started his college basketball career last fall with visions of making a huge impact on the Colorado Buffaloes.
Instead, he spent much of the year watching from the bench.
"It was frustrating, but I feel like everything happens for a reason," King said recently.
Halfway through his summer workouts, King now believes that his freshman year was good for his overall development as a player.
At 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing in about 208 pounds last season, King is a fantastic athlete who flashed some exceptional skills while playing guard and forward.
In 11 minutes against Jackson State on Nov. 16, he pulled down seven rebounds and looked a little like former Buff Andre Roberson with his nose for the ball. Two days later, he scored a season high 11 points and pulled down four rebounds against Arkansas State.
"You feel like, 'I'm ready to go,'" King said when looking back at those games. "At that time, I didn't realize that I didn't know as much as I thought I knew. That's why I spent some time on the bench."
Once Pac-12 play began, King rarely saw the court. He was one of four true freshmen on the roster and he played, by far, fewer minutes than his classmates. Even Tre'Shaun Fletcher, who missed 14 games with an injured knee, wound up with more court time than King.
Although frustrated during the season, King now realizes he needed that.
"Sitting on the bench, I saw the game from a different perspective," he said. "I saw where the ball needs to be moved; I saw it in the coaches' eyes. You'd be surprised at what you can actually see sitting on the bench. So I feel like that happened for a reason. I think that's going to help me on the court.
"I had a lot of things to learn and I learned them, so I feel like I'm ready now."
The biggest thing King learned, he said, was "how not to be a freshman anymore."
He remembers last summer when the days went by slowly and he struggled at practice. He remembers veterans Askia Booker and Josh Scott putting their arms around him and telling him how to do things the right way.
King laughs as he thinks about this summer, because he's now doing the same thing for CU's new freshmen, who arrived earlier this month.
"I'm just showing them the ropes," he said. "With my experience, I can help them."
Associate head coach Jean Prioleau said King's biggest struggles last season came with ball handling and processing all the plays in his head. Prioleau also said that once King gets that all squared away, look out.
"He's a talented player, and he has a chance to be really, really good," Prioleau said.
King believes he's on his way. He has felt more comfort in the CU system this summer and the game has slowed down a bit. Fundamentally, he said he's focusing on his ball handling and his lateral movement so that he can be a defensive stopper.
King is also becoming stronger. He played last year between 205-208 pounds, but wants to play consistently at 215 next season.
"I'm 220 now and I'm still able to do whatever I want," he said.
King hopes to continue that into next season. He found a way to turn his bench time into a positive. Now, he hopes to take it a step further and start making the impact he came here to make.