By Lindsay Cash
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
College coaches set out to recruit stellar position players who dominate their role; but receiving a total package player with a rare skill set is a true gift.
That's what happened the first time Baylor head volleyball Coach Jim Barnes saw the versatility and ability of Allison King. Exposed to her talent, Barnes was amazed at her competitive capabilities.
"I remember seeing Allison's potential to come compete for us at all positions," Barnes said. "She could play libero and outside hitter with extremely good ball control. That's hard to find."
Barnes clearly understood the value of her uncommon athleticism. But King didn't waste any time showcasing her power to Baylor nation.
As a senior, King now holds the all-time record for digs at Baylor with 1,860.
"It's crazy to think I was able to hit that record, since I haven't even played libero for a year," King said.
King began playing libero her freshman and sophomore year at Baylor. Her junior year, she moved to outside hitter, and was fourth on the team with 209 kills. When given the chance to play libero again in her senior year, King jumped at the opportunity and quickly put her name in the BU record book.
"After playing so much her freshman year, I knew she was headed straight for that record," Barnes said.
She did exactly just that, while serving her team from plenty of different positions along the way.
"I knew Allison would compete well from different spots," Barnes said. "Being a four-year starter and playing every game shows how valuable she is to us. I put a lot of pressure on her to perform every night, and she loves it."
King's game is fueled by pressure, and she calmly takes on her role as a senior. However, don't count on seeing any traces of emotion from her.
"I don't show emotion at all. And that goes with my personality. I don't let things get to me," King said.
Describing King as consistent, focused, determined and dependable, Coach Barnes is comfortable in giving his senior libero control of the court.
"She coordinates every serve and receive, and that's really played into her being a vocal leader," Barnes said. "Allison's role is so important; that role has to be successful every night in order for us to win. She knows how much I count on her."
While King's coach expects her to carefully and meticulously evaluate the court throughout each set, he isn't the only one putting his faith in her. Teammate and roommate of four years, Jordan Rice, trusts King far beyond the court.
The senior defensive specialist spends a lot of time with King on and off the court. Rice cherishes the trueness of King's character in everything she does.
"She's consistent on the court, always doing her job, and you can rely on her. If Allison is passing next to me, I know she's there and I can trust her," Rice said.
Rice embraces the personality spectrum of King, and all it entails.
"For as much intensity and determination Allison has, she has the ability to make anyone laugh," Rice said.
Even her coach, who puts so much pressure and trust in her as a player, admires how she makes light of the tight moments.
"She's the spontaneous one," Barnes said. "She keeps things light when the girls are feeling a lot of pressure. I know the team really enjoys that part of Allison."
Making light of situations, making others smile, thriving on pressure and being dependable and honest are obviously some of King's most valuable traits. It's safe to say she's using every bit of talent she has.
When King isn't practicing and competing with her team, the five-time Big 12
Commissioner's Honor Roll member spends her time educating children in the Waco classrooms. Being an education major, King invests in her students, just as she does her teammates.
"I love the leadership aspect of teaching," King said. "In the classroom, I'm working toward bettering my students. That ties into volleyball, because on the court, I'm always wanting to better my teammates."
But her schedule doesn't stop there. King and Rice coach a 15-year-old club volleyball team together in Waco.
As much as Barnes values her as one of his most dependable players, he sees her leadership carrying her far into life, beyond volleyball.
"I tell her that being such a big part of our volleyball program makes her an exceptional leader," Barnes said. "Dealing with teammates and tough situations accelerates this entire experience because of how intense things are. There are ups and downs with testing of our character, and her role on this team has helped her grow quite a bit."
Without a doubt, King's future is full of promises. King has spent her time on Baylor's squad leading and digging her way to an all-time record. Growing up dreaming of playing in the Big 12 Conference, King has seen her dream come true, with plenty of her senior season still to come.