Raymond "Circus" King, Cal's 5-10, 170-pound senior point guard from Richmond, CA, is the Golden Bears spark off the bench with tough on-the-ball defense and dazzling passes. King has maintained a nearly 2-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in his career at Cal. Below is a question and answer session with Cal's veteran point guard, who is playing his last conference games for the Bears.
As one of only two scholarship seniors on the Bears, how do you help this freshman-laden squad?
"Given my experience, I try to show the young guys how to handle themselves on and off the court by setting a good example for them in practice and in the classroom."
What is your favorite book and why?
"The Koran is the book I read most often because I am Muslim and it is like our Bible. The Koran determines how I lead my life."
You practice meditation. Can you describe the experience?
"Basically, the Muslim faith tells me to pray five times a day as a way of repenting because none of us are perfect. So I try to purify myself and strengthen my character by praying and meditating. Meditation puts me in a peaceful state."
You dished out a team-high five assists in Cal's NIT championship win season over Clemson. Was playing in the NIT your career highlight as a Golden Bear?
"Oh man, playing in New York was probably the best basketball experience I have ever had. I thought I was dreaming when I walked into Madison Square Garden. It was unbelievable, and we won, which made the whole experience that much sweeter. I look at New York as the Mecca of basketball. Plus, we got to spend the whole week there, so we ate at nice restaurants and even caught a New Jersey Nets game. It was really cool."
You mention in your bio that the focus of your American studies major is on sports marketing and advertising. Do you plan to pursue a career in sports marketing when your playing days are over?
"I would love to work in sports marketing down the road. But for now, I want to play basketball as much as I can."
You are nicknamed "Circus," and your younger brother, Jeremiah, is called "Carnival." Where did you guys get these nicknames?
"Back in eighth grade two of my mentors, Hashim and Calvin Andrews, saw me playing in a game for the local boys club. I guess I had a pretty good game with lots of points and assists. They told me after the game that I needed a nickname. It was between "Dime King" because of my fancy passes and "Circus" because of my crazy shots that went in. We all liked "Circus" best, so it stuck. Since I had a younger brother who played a little like me, people called him "Carnival." He plays for a junior college in Palm Springs now, and I think fans there still call him "Carnival."
Off the court, what has been your favorite experience at Cal?
"I really appreciate how relaxed the campus and surrounding areas are. The easy going environment suits me because I am a laid back guy."
How about the experience of being a student-athlete at Cal?
"Balancing school and basketball has not been that hard because I have been doing this my whole life. Going to Cal has been a great learning experience on and off the court for me. I made some mistakes, but I grew stronger as a person by learning from them and moving on."
Any final thoughts about your teammates?
"I have gotten to know my teammates much more this season than last. Sean (Lampley), Solomon (Hughes), Dennis (Gates), I have bonded with all of them. And I am getting familiar with the freshmen too. They have so much energy. I think we all get along well because everybody on this team is a good person."