USA: Curtis Kelly Spotlight

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – There may not be anyone on the courts here at the USA Basketball Youth Festival who enjoys the game of basketball more than Curtis Kelly.

The 6-8, 220-pound rising junior from Manhattan (N.Y.) Rice is also fun to watch. He's a bouncy, long-armed athlete who plays with an unlimited supply of high energy. And then there's the talking – sometimes he's talking to other teammates, sometimes to opponents and sometimes to himself. But regardless, he's always talking and smiling and hustling.

"Yeah, that's the way I play – it's part of my game," he said. "I want to win, so I feel like I've got to say what I've got to say to help us win. I love basketball."

Thanks to a big opening performance, Kelly is averaging 16.5 points (64% FG), 3.5 boards and 3.5 assists through the first day of games.

He's like a pogo-stick in the paint and has shown quality range on his jumper.

"I've been working on my jumpshot and my ballhandling," he said. "My jumpshot is doing all right so far and my ballhandling is coming along."

While Kelly has two years of high school remaining, schools have made it clear by way of his coach that they're very interested. For now, Kelly has three that stand atop his list of many.

"North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Texas – those three schools are my dream schools," he said. "When I started playing and watching college ball, those were the schools I loved. They've all kept in touch with my coach."

None of the three have offered yet, though it's a safe bet Kelly will be receiving a ton of offers in the near future.

"They can't offer me a scholarship right now," Kelly said of the Tar Heels, "but I know they're really interested in me and I'm interested in them."

But just because he has three favorites and a large group behind that, doesn't mean his list is closed..

"It's an open house – anybody can come in and show me they want me and I'll consider them," he said.

Though for now, the focus is on winning a medal here at the Festival and continuing to play the game he loves the way he loves to play it.

"I'm just trying to play hard," he said, "and am hoping that USA Basketball is enjoying me and you are enjoying me."

Needless to say, everyone is enjoying watching Curtis Kelly.


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