Eli King finds his home: Caledonia star discovers perfect fit at Iowa State

Isaac Trotter, Post-Bulletin, Rochester, Minn.
·4 min read

Apr. 21—A knee injury took away Eli King's junior year at Caledonia, but it didn't slow his recruitment down at all. The high-flying guard committed to Iowa State on Tuesday. King had offers from Minnesota, Iowa, Minnesota, Marquette Northern Iowa and Stanford, but a familiar face sealed the deal.

New Iowa State head coach T.J. Otzelberger is very aware of the talent in the King family. When he was the head coach at South Dakota State, Otzelberger landed Eli's older brother, Owen, and coached him for a year. Noah King was also committed to play for Otzelberger and South Dakota State before he left for the UNLV head coaching vacancy in 2019.

Now, Otzelberger is a perfect 3-for-3 on recruiting King brothers. King is the second commit in Iowa State's Class of 2022, joining three-star point guard Tamin Lipsey. King and Lipsey played together on the AAU Circuit for D1 Minnesota. Lipsey is everything you'd want in a point guard, and the high-flying King fits flawlessly alongside him as a slashing combo guard who can really defend at a high level and is a threat to tear the rim off in transition. King and Lipsey were terrific in AAU together and they're hoping to do more of the same for Iowa State.

King is a four-star recruit according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. He's the No. 73 recruit in the Class of 2022 and the No. 2 prospect in Minnesota. King averaged 16.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 3.3 steals and 1.8 blocks per game for Caledonia as a sophomore. The Warriors were the No. 1 team in Class AA and won the Section 1AA title before the pandemic wiped out the state tournament.

But reports out of Caledonia were that King had taken his game to a completely different level during the offseason. Teams had tried to keep King out of the paint and make him shoot it from downtown, but his 3-point jumper had really come along and he was shooting incredibly well. Some called him the Warriors' most improved player and he was due for a junior season eruption before a torn meniscus right before the season-opener sidelined him for the entire year.

King was forced to sit on the bench and be his team's top cheerleader, but Caledonia still managed to advance all the way to the Class AA state championship game but Waseca's Ryan Dufault hit the game-winner with less than three seconds left to hand the Warriors a crushing 51-49 loss.

READ MORE: Waseca hands Caledonia heartbreaking, last-second loss in Class AA title game

But the good news is that King's knee is recovering nicely and he hopes to get back on the floor this summer. Now, the pressure is off. He can just focus on getting healthy and getting better before heading off to Iowa State. Caledonia will have big goals in 2021-22. King's return to the floor parlayed with the return of studs like Jackson Koepke and Ja'shon Simpson has the Warriors eyeing another trip towards a state title.

King had a lot on his plate the last few years. The football star was also having to weigh plenty of Division I offers on the gridiron. Getting recruited throughout a pandemic made it even harder with the lack of official visits.

But King has a home in Iowa State. It's a short 205-mile drive from Caledonia, so his family will be really close.

Otzelberger is ready to transform the Cyclones into the Big 12 powerhouse that they were under Fred Hoiberg. Iowa State won more than 20 games in seven of the eight seasons between 2012 and 2019. Otzelberger leaned hard on the transfer portal to boost up his roster for the 2021 season, and he's hoping that King's arrival in 2022 will take Iowa State to the next level.

WOW.... pic.twitter.com/jCcOj4Rh3R

— ryan pitts (@ryanpitts32) March 3, 2020

Committed!!!

ELI KING

6'3"-Guard-Class of 2022

Caledonia, MN

Congratulations Eli!

Excited to see the future with @coachotz and @CycloneMBB pic.twitter.com/HKEI0V90Oz

— Caledonia Boys Basketball (@CaledoniaBoysBB) April 20, 2021