"At this point, I've been offered by Davidson, William & Mary, Vermont, James Madison, Virginia, NC State, and Virginia Tech," said Kelly. "The latest have been the Atlantic Coast Conference offers.
"I thought I played pretty good this summer. I did well at individual camps and with D-One. We finished the summer real strong in Las Vegas and a lot of our players have got interest. It's exciting."
Leslie didn't suit up with D-One in Las Vegas, but John Wall continued his stellar play and is now regarded as one of the elite point guards in the 2009 class. What does Kelly think of his AAU teammate?
"I just enjoy playing with him," said Kelly. "He's a very talented player, and he's getting a lot of recognition. I'm very happy for him. He's very good at what he does."
Kelly's emergence as a high-major target has come about because of his toughness in the post, ability to score from the perimeter, and the fact that he keeps growing. He has grown two inches this year and as his skillset evolves colleges have taken notice. At Dave Telep's Carolina Challenge, Kelly checked in at 6-foot-7 and he was recently measured at 6-foot-9.
"The last time I went to the doctor I measured in at 6'9," he said. "There's a big difference between 6'7 and 6'9 in basketball. My dad was 6'7 and had some of the same skills as me. He played at Yale, and played a couple of seasons professionally in France. I think at 6'9 and being able to face-up big men and shoot from the outside, that can cause matchup problems."
Although he knew his recent play had been strong, the offer from Virginia, which came at the beginning of August, caught Kelly by surprise.
"That was very exciting for me," he said. "They had sent me letters and called, but it truly surprised me because it came right after Las Vegas. It started a whole new process."
Virginia Tech and NC State followed, with Wolfpack head coach Sidney Lowe extending a scholarship offer last Friday when Kelly and his parents visited NC State unofficially.
|"He's a very talented player."|
I've visited NC State and Davidson, and I'm going up to Virginia this weekend," said Kelly. "I went to NC State last Friday. I've been talking with them throughout the summer, and they saw me play when I went to their Elite Camp and with my high school team for their team camp. They saw me play at the camps too.
"I really got to talk with the coaches on the visit. We talked about the program with coach Lowe, and he said that he wanted to extend a scholarship offer to me. NC State is a very good school, and they are coming up in basketball. It certainly gives me a great option being right here in Raleigh."
NC State has been tracking Kelly since last summer, and he is intrigued by what the Wolfpack have to offer.
"They first watched me play last summer at team camp," he said. "Coach Lowe said that as a coach he likes to take whatever players he has and find plays for him. He wants me to be that guy that can face up and shoot, but I can also post up and create mismatches.
"He really believes that as a coach he doesn't have a set system. What he said he wants to do is create a system for his team from year-to-year based on his current players. I think that sounded great. It should work great for any type of player."
Kelly and his family moved to Raleigh when he was in the third grade. He stated that he hasn't grown up following any particular college program, and he just likes watching college basketball.
What is he looking for in a college?
"Finding the best fit possible is most important for me," said Kelly. "I'm lucky because both of my parents played in college and my dad played professionally. They are not going to force me anywhere.
"I can't say I know for sure where I'm going to go to college. I haven't been everywhere I'm interested in checking out. I want to find a school I can get a good education and play basketball. Right now I want to just get better physically and prepare myself for my junior season. That's all I'm really thinking about."
As a sophomore Kelly averaged 14.5 points and nine boards for Raleigh (NC) Ravenscroft. With a few new players and the return of the majority of the team, Kelly believes his squad will improve on its 18-11 record in 2007.
"I'm excited for our season," he said. "We're going to be very big with a couple of new guys coming in. Our two leading scorers are back from last year with me and Dominick Walker. I think we can be really good."
Now he is just working on improving as a basketball player. At 6-foot-9 and 192 pounds, he is trying to build his strength while also expanding his game.
"I probably need to improve my own the ball defense and side-to-side quickness," said Kelly. "Also my strength has to improve. I want to be up over 200 pounds by my junior season and go from there."