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“I sat down with him and I told him everything that happened,” King said. “I didn’t beat around the bush, I didn’t lie to him.”

Seven months later, Ammann says King has been a team leader and a model citizen.

“He’s really cleaned up. He’s staying out of trouble off the court,” Ammann said. “All the mistakes he was making at Villanova, he’s not making anymore. Let’s put it that way.”

King insists he has sworn off his old vices. His off-hours bad habits are no more. He’s no longer withdrawn from his teammates or considers practice a chore. His bad choices were scrapped instead of his promising career.

“Those are all gone now, I’m happy to say that,” King said. “I don’t want to say I’m a new man, but my mind is far more clearer than it has been. And my relationship with my family is as strong as it ever has been.”

The hard knocks only toughened King.

“Not having it work it out at Duke or Villanova, most people wouldn’t have come back from that,” Ammann said. “That’s a pretty big disappointment. Taylor’s really humbled himself and grown up.”

King sounded delighted over the phone as he gushed at how the relationships he has with players and coaches at Concordia are the best of his career. He’s not exactly playing the caliber of competition of North Carolina or Syracuse, but he leads the Eagles in points (14.2) and rebounds (6.0), and has helped them to a 12-0 conference record.

King hasn’t totally cut the net from his previous stops. He talks a handful of times each week with his freshman roommate at Duke, Nolan Smith. Smith has noticed a happier King.

“He knows that he, obviously, is still a really good player and can really shoot the ball,” Smith said. “He has great size, and at the end of the day, he’s going to make some money playing this game somewhere.”

For the first time since he enrolled at Concordia, King says he’s thinking about the NBA. But that, of course, won’t come until after he graduates next year. He’s a communications major, studying broadcasting and sports journalism.

He emotionally capable to brush off taunts and putdowns he hears on the road for his disastrous UCLA-Duke-Villanova triple-play. He understands it’s part of the game, and a part of his past he won’t run away from.

“I don’t want to have to make another decision,” King said, “until after I graduate.”

Not for this comeback king _ at last.