Albert King, who is not old enough to drive a car on the street where he grew up, was the topic of another press conference yesterday.

The 17-year-old basketball player has become a walking headline since the high school performances that made him the most publicized young player in the nation.

The news this time was that he had indeed arrived at the University of Maryland, where he is attending classes and losing weight.

King was asked if he though it odd that a press conference was called to announce the arrival of a 17-year-old freshman.

"It's strange, yes," said King. "It's too soon."

Before the first roll call had been taken, the University athletic office heard from every newspaper in the area concerning the arrival of Albert King. So King, who is sensitive, shy and concerned about his teammates, was introduced to the media yesterday with the two other freshman players, Greg Manning and Ernest Graham.

Sources say that King had agreed to visit Maryland as a recruit only on a secretive basis to avoid further exposure to the media. King received so many telephone calls last year from college coaches that he moved out of his house in New York.

He joked, presumably, that Maryland coach Lefty Driesell spent "four or five hours" recruiting him.

A Maryland teammate said that King is happy here and that the players have been expecially nice to him, "because we know how much pressure there is on him."

King, fielding questions like a diplomat, said he hopes there is no pressure on him. "I don't think so," said King. "There are too many good players on this team for there to be pressure on me."

King lives on the same dormitory floor as the other basketball players and rooms with a team manager.

He is taking astronomy, Afro-American history, American history, sociology and physical education. His major is undeclared.

He has called home once. The dorm food is not overwhelming him.

"I've lost five pounds since I've been here," said King. "I can't wait for training table to start."

Practice starts Oct. 15, and until then King will be working out on his own in the gym with some Bullet rookies, his older brother, Bernard, former Maryland players Len Elmore and John Lucas and his teammates.

Although King seems sensitive to the onslaught of attention, he says he does not want to stifle it.

"I appreciate it," said King. "I don't want it to fade away. I want it to continue for the whole team."

King noted, however, that it is important for him to be alone, and that when he doesn't want to be found, he won't be.