Kelly Receives Support from Team; Fans

Jake Kelly lost his mother this spring after a plane she was riding in crashed just off of Florida. Kelly is playing in the Prime Time League this summer, and spoke about the amazing show of support he has been shown by his teammates, coaches and the Iowa Hawkeye fans, most of whom he doesn't know, yet they have been there for him...

Question: What are you trying to work on with your game?

Jake Kelly: I need to cut down on mistakes. Coach tells me I need to be a perfectionist and get better at everything.

Q: What are the key areas for you?

Kelly: Strength, using my shoulder driving the lane, drawing contact and getting to the line.

Q: Have you put on much weight during your time in Iowa?

Kelly: I was 190, and that dropped a bit since my mom…that whole thing. I should be 200 by the season, because I have put it on pretty easy.

Q: How are you holding up, considering your loss (mother)?

Kelly: I am doing well. We are playing a lot of ball, my teammates have been there for me and keeping my mind off of things. The fans help a ton. Everyone has my back, people send me cards and messages all of the time, Hawkeye fans, and I don't even know them and that means a lot to me

Q: Did you ever think about not playing this summer?

Kelly: No, I wanted to get back as soon as possible.

Q: Has basketball been like therapy for you?

Kelly: Yeah, it always has been. Anytime you can just focus on one thing and work on your body and skills to improve; that is good.

Q: How has Todd Lickliter been during this?

Kelly: He has been great, he is an extremely nice person. He has been there for me, and he is always there.

Q: Are you doing other things this summer?

Kelly: I am taking six hours of classes and lifting a lot of weights.

Q: You would like to be 200 pounds, what are you now?

Kelly: I bet I am down to 184.

Q: What do you eat, whatever you want?

Kelly: Oh yeah. Our trainer texts me to eat bacon and butter.. It doesn't matter.

Q: What do you expect from the team next year, 6 new guys, all of the unknowns…

Kelly: I think we are going to be good. I think we have the right pieces. They seem like smart players that know the game, its fun playing in open gym. They know how to play.

Q: Does that seem to be the common Lickliter theme?

Kelly: Yeah, people call them system guys, but they are smart players. I have played with athletic players and no so smart players, and smart players. I like playing with smart players.

Q: What are you?

Kelly: I think I am both. (laughs)

Q: After season, did you guys talk about the importance of the summer?

Kelly: Summer is huge. Getting in shape is huge. Playing together, getting to know each other, all of these new guys. We don't have much time.

Q: You have an aunt and uncle in town, right?

Kelly: They have lived here 40 years. That has been a huge help, and was a big part of my decision to come here. I can go there for food and laundry, it's been fun.

Q: When Tony (Freeman) made his decision to leave, did that hit you hard?

Kelly: You know, I kind of saw it coming a little bit. But when he personally told me before he made his decision public, I was shocked. It might have been for the best for both worlds. Me and him were very close, I had nothing against him even if some people think that. We were good friends.

Q: He took a lot of grief for playing out of control. Do you think that was fair?

Kelly: Umm…I think he felt like he had to do everything by himself, which he didn't. Maybe he would have changed next year, but I think it worked out best for both. He will be very good at Southern Illinois.

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