Set on a path to minister, lead, and guide others, Royce W. King, Sr., has emerged as one of the next in line, as a role model and inspiration to those around him. A man of many talents, his latest endeavor has not only been rewarding, but eye opening as the rising official shared his perspective on what it means to dawn the black and white stripes.
A long time lover of the game itself, King has been in and around basketball since his days as a youth. From playing, coaching, managing multiple fantasy leagues to podcasting his own fantasy sports show, and now officiating, Royce has experienced the game from just about every aspect. “I have always found joy in the game. To go out and work the game, to manage the game – takes courage,” King said. As a fearless individual, when it comes to officiating King is right at home in having the confidence to make those calls in the game.
“Nobody’s perfect, but you’ve gotta have the courage to make the call at that time, and then execute. Blow your whistle.”
“Aside from the game itself, the best part of officiating is your crew,” King said. “Your peers, your fellow officials, those are the people who you go to war with. They got your back.” Before each game crews typically hold a pregame conference to establish communication and primary areas of coverage. King likes to prepare himself by relaxing and visualization. “I typically like to arrive 90 minutes before game time and just relax, see the plays before getting ready to go.”
An NCAA Women’s Basketball Official, and newly selected Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) Boys Tournament Official, Royce has steadily progressed in the world of officiating. He first began refereeing at the youth level back in 2013, before deciding to commit to officiating full-time. “Initially I wasn’t sure this was for me, but now it’s second nature. I’m happy to have arrived at my destiny and just play my part; be the best that I can be at it and help grow the game while helping kids fulfill their dreams and goals.”
Royce spent his rookie year as an official under the mentorship of Wayne Hobson, a veteran official who helped carry him and show him the ropes.
“Wayne took the time out to get to know me, talk the game, and just help me relax on the floor and remember that this is a game I’ve played before,” King said. “I had a good foundation starting out with guys like Wayne, my high school assignor Chris Shields, and Laschelle Hatcher who worked with me on my mechanics and showed me how to run 3-man.”
Now finishing up his fifth season, Royce has had a year full of excitement. “I call it my rise in five as a young official,” King chuckled. “This has been a personal best year in terms of the number of college conferences that I’ve worked,” he said. “I also received my first tournament selection as an IHSAA Boys Basketball Tournament official, which is a huge milestone.” Alongside fellow crew members Shawn Harmon and Andrew Bowes, King officiated in the Lafayette Jefferson Sectional 7 Tournament in Indiana’s Class 4A.
“I’m really thankful to have achieved such an accomplishment, and I’m grateful for my mentors and college assignors who saw my potential.”
With the regular season winding down, Royce likes to take time out to plan for his off-season and the next upcoming season. “I like to share my plans and schedule with my assignor because they are my partners when it comes to my development.” Peer feedback is also important when it comes to improvement.
King’s advice to up and coming officials looking to get their mind in game:
“If this [officiating] is what you want, go hard at it,” King said. “Do it with consistency and invest in your improvement.” King recommends registering as an official and attending camps to improve development. Officiating camps such as Patty Broderick’s Americas Best Officiating Camp, and Randy Fox’s All Collegiate Officiating Camp, are a great way to grow your network and elevate your game. “Once I made the investment to register with the NCAA I was able to access a variety of next level materials that played a huge role in my growth from year one to year two,” King stated. Royce has plans of attending Sally Bell’s Big Picture Officiating Camp this off-season as well as returning to Fox’s All Collegiate Officiating Camp.
“Keep striving to get to the highest level that you can obtain. Embrace the process because everyone has a level that is theirs and when you arrive you’ll know.”