6. Frankie King (Western Carolina, 1993-95)
Though he only played two seasons at Western Carolina, Frankie King might have been the best player to ever don the Purple and Gold uniform of Western Carolina. The two-time Southern Conference Player of the Year was simply a sensational player during his career for the Catamounts, which saw him score 1,495 points during his two-year career as a Catamount.
King, a native of Baxley, GA., was a major college recruit coming out of high school, but most backed off King after he had some academic issues entering the recruitment process. Fortunately for Catamount and Southern Conference fans, former Catamount head coach Benny Dees never did.
King would play two years at Brunswick Community College before coming to Western Carolina as a junior in the 1993-94 season. During his two seasons at Brunswick CC, King showed why he was such a highly sought after player initially, as he averaged 22.0 PPG as a freshman and followed that up by averaging an astounding 31.2 PPG as a sophomore.
He arrived at Western Carolina in the fall of 1993, ready to take SoCon basketball by storm, becoming one of the best pure scorers in college basketball over the next two seasons. King was a sensational athlete, with great power and leaping ability, as well as possessing the ability to step out beyond the perimeter and connect on the outside shot.
One game in particular summed up what King could do against big-time competition at the Division I level of college basketball. In a Dec. 30 loss at Duke, King poured in 30 points against the Blue Devils in an 87-67 loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium. King also had a big game helped a Western Carolina team overachieve in the Southern Conference Tournament, helping the Catamounts to the semifinals before dropping a 93-89 decision to the Davidson Wildcats. King would record his final 40-point performance of the season, posting 40 points in 94-89 loss at East Tennessee State in early February.
In that SoCon Semifinal setback, King scored 41 points. He finished the campaign scoring 757 points, which ranks fourth in school history in single-season points.
King would lead the Catamounts to the brink of the school's first Southern Conference title in 1995, as Western Carolina finished second in the South Division that season, and would make it all the way to the Southern Conference Tournament title game.The Catamounts possessed one of the most dynamic backcourts in the modern era of the league, as King teamed with sophomore Anquell McCollum and the duo combined to average 44 points per game, with King averaging 26.9 of those points to lead college basketball.
In an early December game against Louisville, King put up another 41-point effort in a 108-76 loss. In the post-game press conference, former legendary Cardinals head coach Denny Crum said that there was no one on his team that could defend King one-on-one. King would lead the Catamounts to SoCon Tournament wins over Davidson (78-74) and Appalachian State (74-64), as the Catamounts advanced to the SoCon title game for the first time in school history.
The championship game pitted the upstart Catamounts against what had become the gold standard of Southern Conference basketball, in the Chattanooga Mocs coached by the legendary Mack McCarthy. After leading by as many as nine points in the second half, the Catamounts would eventually would eventually drop a 63-61 decision in heartbreaking decision. It would be the final act in a brilliant two-year career for King.
King would eventually be the second-round of the 1995 (37th pick) NBA Draft of the Los Angeles Lakers. Injuries would plague his career in Los Angeles, and he played only six games before being picked up by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1996-97 season. King would eventually get cut by the Sixers and enjoyed a seven-year career in various stops in Europe, South America and the Middle East.