By Maggie Cornejo
PVI senior student and varsity basketball player, VJ King, has received a prestigious honor in the world of sports: a spot on the 2016 McDonald’s All-American Team. To be placed on the team, a student athlete must receive a nomination and out of the over eight hundred nominations, only twenty four players in the United States are selected for placement on either the East or West regional teams. King is the first athlete from PVI to receive this award.
“[It’s] just surreal,” said King when asked how it feels to receive the honor. “As a kid, you always dream of receiving accolades such as this one, but for it to actually happen is just something I can’t really explain. It’s just humbling more than anything.”
The McDonald’s All-American Game will take place on Wednesday, March 30, at 7 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on ESPNU. Past participants in the game include current NBA stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant.
PVI formally recognized King’s accomplishment with an afterschool press conference in the PVI senior cafeteria on Feb. 10. Representatives from McDonald’s were on hand to present King with a jersey and congratulate him along with teammates, family, friends, and several faculty members. PVI Varsity Basketball Coach Glenn Farello also shared a few words of support, praising King’s example as a high-achieving athlete, student, and person.
“There is some amazing talent out in the country,” said Farello. “But V.J. is very deserving of the award. We are very proud of him.”
In addition to the McDonald’s All-American honor, King was also recently invited to participate in the Jordan Brand Classic, another elite showcase for high school basketball players. That event will feature another game with some of the nation’s top high school talent squaring off at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, April 15, at 8 p.m.
Moving to Virginia from Ohio before his junior year, V.J. said he was able to make a smooth transition to a new school and quickly felt at home at Paul VI.
“The players and coaches from the team last year really just embraced me and helped me get better each day,” said King, who announced his commitment this past fall to play for the University of Louisville men’s basketball team upon graduation.
King, along with junior teammate Aaron Thompson, serves as a varsity basketball team captain. This responsibility includes providing a positive example for their teammates, which King said is a role he takes seriously.
“We are held to a higher standard than the other players,” said King, who is currently ranked by ESPN as 26th best player in the country for his graduating class. “We hold people accountable for their mistakes and do everything we can to fix those things so we can become the best team we can be.”
After losing to Gonzaga 66-76 in the WCAC quarterfinals Friday, Feb. 19, King and the rest of his PVI boy’s basketball team is looking forward to their first VISAA tournament game, which they will host March 2 at the PAC.
While King’s approaching graduation will certainly be felt by his teammates, Farello and the rest of the PVI community are excited for what is in store for King in his collegiate career.