Hoops, Recruiting All Part of Kelly's Routine

It's 6:10 a.m. What are you doing? For Ryan Kelly, the sound of the alarm means its time to get to the gym.

RALEIGH, N.C. - A lot of guys talk the talk but few back it up. Word around town has consistently been that Ravenscroft senior power forward (Scout.com No. 11) Ryan Kelly rises early and gets up his shots before school starts.

On Thursday, we decided to see for ourselves what the routine looks like and check in on how his recruiting is going.

It's 6:41 a.m. and Kelly hits the gym. He's a bit behind but there's no wasted motion once he gets going. He's a self-motivated junkie. There are no coaches to drive him as three other Ravenscroft players partake in his morning ritual on this day.

"I try and set the alarm for 6 but a lot of times I end up getting up at 6:10," Kelly said. After a shake, bagel, cereal and granola bar, Kelly's ready to go in the morning.

"You have to want to be a player," Ravenscroft coach Kevin Billerman said of his standout. Clearly, Kelly intends to head in that direction.

Watching Kelly, one wonders how many Top 25 guys are there around the country getting up early and getting in gym work? "I'd be surprised if there was a couple," Kelly said.

His separation from basketball after an exhaustive July was more part-time break up than divorce. Kelly didn't work out for two weeks but that's not to say he stayed away from ball entirely. How can one stay away from the rock when your childhood hoop is still in your room so you can float jumpers from your bed?!

Ideally, the routine calls for 250 shots a day. He's added off-the-dribble components in between turns on the shooting gun.

Living on Ravenscroft's campus has its advantages. Since his mother is head of school, gym access isn't a problem. Theoretically, it'll never a problem. Kelly's only halfway kidding when he calls gym access a recruiting point.

"They better give me a key to the gym (in college). That's a selling point, to be able to get into the gym whenever you want."

The gym may be open but Kelly's list is closed. He's down to Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Notre Dame, Georgetown, North Carolina and Duke. He's played his hand better than most guys who entered the World Series of Poker.

However, because he's not overflowing with anecdotes and sharing much information publicly, that's not to say he isn't thinking about schools a lot. To this point, he hasn't felt the pressure.

"Not to the point that some kids go through it. I'm going through it objectively and looking at it knowing that God is going to put me in the right place. I can't do anything about it. I'm just looking at it and trying to have fun.

"(I think about it) more than what's let on. I have to. It's a big decision in my life. I go about it calmly and I know I'm going to find the right place."

The Commodores hosted Kelly last weekend and surely feel Nashville would be a welcoming second home.

"They've obviously had players like me in the past and they've coached players like me successfully," Kelly said. "It's a place that can take a player like me and make him into an SEC player of the year."

This weekend, the Demon Deacons are on tap. Georgetown the following weekend. However, in his spare time, Kelly took the 25-minute ride to Durham and met with the Duke staff before playing pickup ball with the Blue Devils.

The coaches' gold medals haven't been pressed yet so Kelly didn't actually touch Olympic success. He did, however, sit across from the man who had a hand in it.

"To be honest, Coach K was a great coach before," Kelly said. "He's a great coach and that's one of the best accomplishments you can have. Everybody knows he was a great coach before; he's won national championships."

Duke, while the last entrant into the Kelly sweepstakes, is obviously a formidable foe. The mere presence of the Devils on a list is a major concern for rival recruiters. Mix in UNC and the folks located off Tobacco Road can get pretty nervous in a hurry.

Kelly, through all the hoopla, remains committed to his process.

"I have the four [visits] set up. Five and six are obviously UNC and Duke, very close. I figure I don't really have to take an official. I can spend a weekend there on my own dime.

"There's no set up time. Obviously I just got back from Duke and I have to talk to the coaches. I have to talk to Carolina. I have these four weekends in a row then I'll take a weekend break because it's homecoming. Then, we'll go from there."

Kelly's plan is to get this process completed and have his choice made by the time his high school season rolls around.

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