King focused on future on, off the court

Published 9:22 am Friday, June 30, 2023

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Contributing columnist

The Kentucky women’s basketball team didn’t have the success it wanted last year, but Emma King, who is returning for a fifth season with the Cats, was very happy about one thing that happened.

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“This has kind of been the goal of the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletics) leaders since I have been here but our team last year was much more receptive and much more involved with FCA,” said King, a Lincoln County High School graduate. “I had a bunch of teammates more willing to come to FCA.”

King said FCA staff member Heather Summer usually conducted the women’s basketball team FCA meetings while King was “in charge” of getting players to attend.

“They love Heather a lot and that has been cool. They see and hear me all the time, so it is nice to have someone else there to lead,” King said. “I am the one behind the scenes orchestrating it and getting everybody there but Heather is the one who runs the Bible study.

“It was a nice little switch. The team was so much more willing to do things of that caliber. I have encouraged my teammates to come to FCA since I was a freshman and that has been the goal but this year was the first year to make it happen because enough players got involved and were interested.”

Kentucky finished 12-19 last season and was only 2-14 in Southeastern Conference play. King said the strong FCA presence helped during a difficult season.

“Once you find out and figure out and come to terms with your identity is really not in your sport, it is Christ, that makes a big difference and playing is less stressful,” King said. “That is something that did help us and will continue to help us as we have a lot of people returning.”

King said FCA meetings are “strictly athletes” with no coaches and that is appealing to players.

“We get to be close outside of actual basketball. It is just us and our teammates and that’s how you grow relationships,” King said.

King said it was also encouraging to her that so many UK sports teams also had a Bible study. She said women’s basketball has been trying to get with volleyball — led by Azhani Tealer — to combine study sessions.

“I think it would be a really good thing if we joined with volleyball. But the good thing is it is really growing with football, baseball, swimming, men’s golf, track, women’s golf and others all having Bible studies,” King said. “That growth is the focus of the FCA leadership team.”

King currently is also focused on what her future might be like after the 2023-24 basketball season ends. She had graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human/health sciences and a minor in business and has started her Master’s in finance

“My mother asks me probably every day what I am going to do. I have been leaning toward pharmaceutical sales,” King said. “I was going to do a Master’s in marketing because of that, but I did finance because I like math and numbers.

“I am keeping my options open. I have my medical history and my human health sciences but also business and finance. I kind of cover the spectrum. Anything I am kind of interested in, I will have a degree in it.

“I tell my mom ‘God has always taken care of me to this point, so I am not worried about it and you should not be worried about it. She is a little more worried than me but it will be OK.’”

King is also optimistic this will be a better season for her team.

“It’s obviously no secret we didn’t perform well in the SEC last year, so really there is only going up from there,” King said. “I think everybody kind of has that sour taste in their mouth and it just makes us want to work harder to be better this season. Just put our heads down, go to work and see where that takes us. That’s all we can do.”