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January 8, 2012Arizona State coach Herb Sendek dismissed one of his team's leading scorers, sophomore guard Keala King, from the program Sunday.
"We have decided that Keala will no longer be with the team," Sendek said in a statement. "We wish him nothing but the best in his future."
King, who is tied with junior Trent Lockett averaging a team-best 13.7 points in 13 games this season, missed the team's games against USC and UCLA last week after being suspended as a result of a "general lack of accountability and unwillingness to do what has been asked of" him according to a program source.
There was no singular incident that caused King's suspension or dismissal. Sendek said last week that King, sophomore Kyle Cain and junior Chris Colvin were suspended for the USC and UCLA games for "unacceptable conduct."
King becomes one of eight players in Arizona State's three recruiting classes between 2008 and 2010 to leave the program prematurely, joining Taylor Rohde, Johnny Coy, Demetrius Walker, Victor Rudd, Brandon Thompson, Brandon Dunson, and Corey Hawkins. None lasted more than two years with the program.
Ranked as the No. 26 recruit in the national 2010 class by Rivals.com, King butted heads with coaches as a freshman, admitting after the season that immaturity and a lack of understanding about great work habits led to a difficult adjustment to college basketball.
As a result of those and other issues, King averaged just 3.7 points last season. In the team's final six games, he averaged 6.8 points and earned more playing time.
It appeared King was turning the corner early this season, making more 3-pointers in the team's first game than he did all of last season. He averaged 4.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists in addition to his 13.7 points per game, and had better body language on the court.
Behind the scenes, problems persisted. Program sources said King often wouldn't run offensive plays as called, and was prone to emotional instability. While the team was in Los Angeles, he had several things he was asked to address, but when ASU returned, he'd not accomplished the tasks.
ASU has not announced an update as to the status of Colvin and Cain. Sendek said Saturday following the team's loss to UCLA that their situations will be individually discussed upon the team's return to Tempe Sunday.