As a basketball fan, I have always had a love for the lesser known, obscure and/or under-appreciated. At school, when most kids were wearing Penny Hardaway, Shaquille O’Neal or Michael Jordan jerseys, I was wearing Bobby Hurley, Derek Harper and Dino Radja.
This is my open tribute to the lesser known players in today’s game. This is Spotted On the Pine.
Name: Kim English
Team: Detroit Pistons
Jersey Number: 24
Rookie Year: 2012-13
Drafted: 2012, Round 2 – 44th overall
The Missouri Tigers had a long success story during their run in the Big 12. Following the 2012 school year, Mizzou moved into the SEC, leaving the Big 12 on a high note. In their final year in the Big 12, the Tigers won the Conference Championship while wrapping up a four-year win total of 107 victories. The senior class responsible would leave a strong program knowing they had achieved the highest win total of any senior class in school history. This class was led by Marcus Denmon, Steve Moore and this week’s subject of Spotted on the Pine, Kim English.
As a native of Randallstown, Maryland, English grew up as a basketball stud, despite the pressure of growing up in the same Baltimore suburb where Sisqo grew up. Well, I guess Thong Song had already been played out by the time English was emerging in Randallstown High School delivering three consecutive state championships, earning MVP honors along the way.
English would soon find himself playing for Notre Dame Prep Academy, a boarding school known for its basketball with alumni including Michael Beasley, Ryan Gomes, Derrick Caracter and Lazar Hayward, among other NBA talent and college stars. While at Notre Dame, English would once again earn MVP honors after a brilliant season before becoming one of the next great Mizzou Tigers.
As a Freshman, English quickly earned his way into the starting lineup for the Tigers, starting almost all of the games against conference opponents and showed his worth to the school making some key shots to move the Tigers to the Sweet 16 during Mizzou’s victory over Marquette in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
While he was named to Dick Vitale’s Most Improved team his sophomore year, the young guard would continue to improve each and every year during his stay at Mizzou. By the end of his senior season, with some school records and a conference title to his name, Kim English would be named the Big 12 Most Outstanding Player, averaging 23 points per game and shooting an incredible 78% from the field.
The draft would see two of Mizzou’s Big Three get drafted, as Kim would be selected by Detroit with the 44th overall pick. His teammate Marcus Denmon would be selected 59th overall by the San Antonio Spurs. While Marcus would head to France to start his professional career, Kim would find himself inserted in the Detroit Pistons youth movement.
The Pistons would bring English to training camp with fellow 2012 draftees Andre Drummond and Khris Middleton, in addition to the incoming 2011 2nd round pick who went to Europe/Duke standout Kyle Singler and returning prospects Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe. Unlike any of the others, English did not receive as long of a guaranteed contract and worked his way onto the Pistons 2012-13 roster.
While not getting as many minutes as some of the others Pistons youngsters, English was sent with Middleton to the D-League affiliate Fort Wayne Mad Ants for a week in December. In three games, English started all three average 18.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists, proving he was ready to provide some help to the Pistons.
With a great showing in the D-League, English came back to make the most of the opportunities presented to him. Occasional appearances and not many minutes when getting play, English still managed to be productive on the court, highlighted by a ten point, three assist and three rebound performance in twelve minutes against Brooklyn on March 18th.
Due to not having as strong as a guarantee of other youngsters, some Pistons fan blogs speculate whether English will make it back for a second campaign with the Pistons. If Kim hasn’t proved his worth by what he has done on the court, he seems like an extremely likeable guy off the court.
During the 2012 All-Star break, English made sure to be in person to watch his alma mater Missouri in person. During a tough loss to Alabama on the road, English was caught by ESPN cameras not enjoying what he saw.
When the picture made rounds on social media, English simply stated the truth saying:
“I need to control my faces better. Lol. Kinda wear my emotions on my sleeve.”
If passion for his Tigers wasn’t enough, English treated a crowd of restaurant patrons to his own rendition of “A Boy Named Sue”, complete with a live band.
http://youtu.be/DDTWo_uMPNM (the video won’t seem to embed but hopefully you check out the link, courtesy of the Official Channel of the Detroit Pistons).
An underutilized talent who keeps things entertaining off the court, Kim English is the latest NBA player Spotted on the Pine that I hope you see more of going forward.
Main photo credit to Brian Babineau – NBA Rookie Photoshoot
Crowd photo courtesy of Pistons Powered Blog
Video courtesy of YouTube