2009's Kelly Continues Ascent

RALEIGH, N.C. - Junior forward Ryan Kelly hit for 35 points in his season debut last week. The 6-foot-9 Ravenscroft junior, a versatile four-man, has steadily improved throughout his career.

Basketball is in Ryan Kelly's blood. Once he matriculates in the fall of 2009 (and we don't know where yet) he'll become a 4th generation college basketball player. The 6-foot-9 Raleigh (N.C.) Ravenscroft power forward is off to a fine start already this season.

Kelly's noticeable improvement since last year, has taken his recruitment from the mid-major level and the elevator he's been riding is now stopping on high-major floors. Over a dozen programs have been in to see him. Notre Dame and Virginia were at his first scrimmage when he dropped 33 points. Kelly's first regular season game on Thursday was a 35-point, 12-rebound win over Greenfield School.

One reason for Kelly's rapid ascent has been the 20 pounds of meat he's added to his frame since the end of the AAU season. "It was always a goal to be the best I can be," Kelly said last week. "With the people around me – my parents, grandparents – they weren't only good players but they've been great teachers. My dad's been great to me and he's helped me so much. On top of that, Coach Billerman was a Division I basketball player and coach."

It doesn't hurt to have access to training facilities either. Kelly's mother is the Head of School at Ravenscroft and Ryan knows where the keys to the gym are in his home. "I can get the balls and the basket whenever I want," he joked.

Both of Kelly's parents were college athletes. Chris Kelly was a basketball player at Yale and Doreen a volleyball player at Penn and Villanova.

"My parents, they had their college experience," Kelly said. "They keep me grounded but at the same time they offer advice and point me in the right direction. But, they also know it's my decision and what's important to me."

As it stands, Kelly counts offers from North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Davidson, William & Mary and Richmond. He's been to UVA, Virginia Tech, N.C. State, Davidson, Richmond and North Carolina.

A lot of programs are keeping tabs on him and dropping in to see games or workouts. Notre Dame, North Carolina, Michigan, Indiana and Stanford have buzzed Ravenscroft's campus. Roy Williams, Sidney Lowe, Bob McKillop and Seth Greenberg (coming soon) lead the parade of head coaches through town.

There's an attraction to education for Kelly that will play a role in the decision. An elite student, Kelly feels like with the programs he's looking at, what he gets out of his college experience will be up to him.

"I've said this before. My parents preach to me that it's not the school and what they're known for. Some schools are known as better academics than others. But, it's how much you are going to put into it. You can get as good of an education as you want if you put in the work yourself."

Kelly's academic philosophy is kind of like his basketball game: you get out what you put into it. Nowadays, Ryan Kelly is maximizing his hard work on the court and in the classroom.

Scout Hoops Top Stories