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NOC’s Demaree King enters as a walk-on, leaves an All-American

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 From walk-on to All-American.

  That’s the path Northern Oklahoma College Maverick guard Demaree King made for himself.

  “From walk-on to All-American, that is quite the story for a young man who has put in the work to get the opportunities he has earned,” NOC head coach Donnie Jackson said.  “I couldn’t be happier and more excited for him.”

  It was not an easy path, however.

  King was a non-recruited high school player from Tulsa who attended Will Rogers High School.

  “A former coach of mine is the assistant Athletic Director for Tulsa Public Schools and had coached at Rogers,” Jackson said.  “He called in July (2017) and told me about Demaree.  He said that Demaree was a player worth taking a chance on.  I brought him in and showed him our campus.  I think he liked what he saw but I had to tell him that I didn’t have any money (scholarship funds) available.  If he wanted to come, it was going to be as a walk-on.”

  King remembered that conversation.

  “I had talked to coach (Jackson) during that summer,” King said.  “He asked me if I wanted to come for a visit and I did.  I liked the campus and all but coach said they had no scholarship money left so I would have to walk-on.”

  “I thought about it and really didn’t have any options if I wanted to play,” King added.  “I talked to my Mom and she said I needed to use my gift of basketball so I decided to come to NOC.”

  The first couple months for King weren’t easy.  Student-athletes have to adjust to college life and college athletics, not an easy transition for many.

  King saw that he was going to be challenged in the classroom and on the court.

  “I didn’t get into academics that much in high school,” he said.  “So that was tough, and it was going to be tough to get on the court, there were a lot of good players on the team.”

  Besides King, Jackson had recruited Omar Boone and Khobe Austin-Johnson so there was competition for King at the guard position.  The Mavs also had heavily recruited Trevion Lamar on campus as well.

  “It was tough,” King said.  “I thought about quitting a few times, I just didn’t see anything working out for me at NOC.  Being away from home was hard, I was really wanting to leave.”

  Jackson said he feared King was going to quit.

  “Before we left for our first scrimmage in Dallas, Demaree came in and said he wanted to quit,” Jackson said.  “I understood where he was coming from because I was a walk-on player in college and I know it’s hard, I understood what it was like to be away from home in a new environment.  I just told him to stay with it and keep working.  By the last game in Dallas, he was starting and playing a lot of minutes.”

  By the end of his freshman season, King was the 8th man for the Mavs and was looking forward to a solid sophomore season.

  But then, King broke his wrist in a game at Cowley College in Arkansas City in December 2018.

  The bad news was King would miss the rest of the season.

  The good news was that King could redshirt and come back as a third-year sophomore.

  “It was really a blessing though it didn’t seem like it at the time,” King joked.  “When coach said I could come back I was excited.”

  Jackson said that was the best thing for King.

  “That redshirt year was good for Demaree,” Jackson said.  “It gave him another year to work on his game and to work in the classroom.  It was easy to see how Demaree was maturing as a student and athlete.”

  Jackson was counting on King to be a leader for the Mavs in 2019-20 and he didn’t disappoint averaging nearly 20 points per game leading NOC to a top ten ranking and a berth in the NJCAA Tournament. He also broke the school record of 12 3-pointers in a game.

  “He just had a great year,” Jackson said.  “We had such a young team with just Demaree, Barron (Tanner), and Lupa (Deaveon Bankston) back from the year before.  We needed him to step up.”

  “He became a leader in every sense of the word, both on and off the court,” Jackson said.  “It was exciting to watch him grow up.”

  Jackson and King have a great relationship, one that King respects.

  “He (Jackson) will always tell you the truth and I didn’t like hearing it sometimes,” King joked.  “But he’s always real and that means a lot.”

  NOC’s season ended in disappointment due to Covid-19 but King said he won’t let that spoil the memory of 2020.

  “What a crazy deal,” King said.  “It stinks that we couldn’t experience Hutch (NJCAA National Tournament) but we had a great season, it was a blessing.”

  What advice would King give young college athletes?

  “You just have to stay after it,” he said.  “It’s going to be hard, you know it’s going to be hard but you have to keep working.  There are days you don’t want to study or don’t want to practice but you have to keep going.”

  “I was a walk-on, no one knew anything about me but I made it,” King said.  “That should tell others they can too.”

  Now, King is moving to Alabama where he will continue his playing career at Jacksonville State.

  “It’s a great fit for Demaree,” Jackson said.  “They graduated a lot of guards so there was a need for shooting.”

  “They play a faster tempo, like we played at NOC,” King said.  “They needed shooters and I think I can go in and make an impact.”

  Northern Oklahoma College, the state’s first public community college, is a multi-campus, land-grant institution that provides high quality, accessible, and affordable educational opportunities and services which create life-changing experiences and develop students as effective learners and leaders within their communities in a connected, ever changing world.

  NOC, a public two-year community college, serves 4,200 students on the home campus in Tonkawa, branch in Enid, NOC/OSU Gateway Program in Stillwater, online, and the University Center in Ponca City.

In 2019, NOC celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the Enid campus and a 15-year partnership with OSU for the Gateway Program.

  NOC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers associate degrees in three general areas: Arts, Science and Applied Science.  The associate degree fulfills lower-division course work which is applicable towards a bachelor’s degree.

  Call (580) 628-6200 for more information about Northern Oklahoma College or visit www.noc.edu .