As a sophomore, Te’Andre King of North Yarmouth Academy led all Western Maine Conference boys’ basketball players in scoring and rebounding, averaging 23.2 points and 13.1 rebounds.

This season, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound junior has improved his all-around game while continuing to dominate at times in the low post. A starter since his first game as a freshman, King’s 1,000th career point could come as soon as Tuesday when the Panthers host Buckfield.

King is from New York City but lives with Richard Young and Michelle Higgins of Portland while attending NYA. He met the couple when they served as his host family in a summer program designed to expose inner-city children to more rural settings.

Q: You grew up in New York and your mom and dad are still there. How does a kid from Manhattan end up at North Yarmouth Academy?

A: There was this program called the Fresh Air Fund that my older brother actually did and my mom wanted me to have the opportunity to do it. … I went to a family in Maine, a guy Richard (Young) and a lady Michelle (Higgins) and we really hit it off and it was fun times when I was with them. So I kept coming back. My last year they asked me how were my academics and what I wanted to do and if I wanted to go to college. I told them, yeah, I want to go to college but I’m not really being pushed and doing as well as I could. They said, hey, there’s a good school called NYA and would you like to come to school. We’ll help you financially and I took them up on it.

Q: How many summers did you stay with them.

A: Three. It was my third summer they asked me if I wanted to come up (for school).

Q: To use a horrible basketball cliche, was it a slam dunk to come here, or was it a difficult decision?

A: It was 50-50 I would say. I definitely remember my first couple weeks here I wasn’t sure how I would fit in or how I would do. But the community here is actually really nice. They embrace you no matter what. I definitely found my role pretty fast in the environment.

Q: Where the intent was getting academically prepared for college, do you feel like you’ve done that?

A: Yeah, I feel like I’ve definitely improved academically. My writing’s better. My math skills are way better. I knew ever since I was young that I’ve had a real big passion for science, so I’m taking a couple of AP (science) classes.

Q: When you first came here, how did the basketball fit in?

A: It was actually a really quick fit. The guys that were here my freshmen year, they had their core team, and it just seemed like I fit in really well. We went to the semis and lost to Winthrop.

Q: Last year you led the WMC in scoring and rebounding, yet you’re at NYA, a small school known more for hockey. Did you have any thought about maybe going to a different school so you could play Class A basketball?

A: It’s never crossed my mind. I mean, I’ve heard it. I’ve definitely gotten a lot of chirps from guys I played AAU with telling me, “Come to Greely.” “Come to Falmouth.” “Win a championship.” I just love the environment here. It was never really just about basketball for me. This school has offered me so much.

Q: Do you want to play basketball collegiately?

A: Yes. I do. I do really want to play college basketball.

Q: You’re closing in on 1,000 points, which is a significant mark. What does that mean to you?

A: I guess that’s like a cool club to be in. We have a plaque (at NYA). It would be pretty cool to have my name on it, but really my main goal is to get a Gold Ball and get the guys where they need to be. That won’t mean anything to me if we’re not playing as a team.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: SteveCCraig

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