Kelly Earns Wisconsin Offer

Despite not knowing the future of the program beyond the 2015-16 season, Wisconsin and assistant coach Lamont Paris couldn't resist offering Atlanta Pace Academy sophomore Isaiah Kelly on Tuesday following its elite camp.

A day before he was going to attend Wisconsin basketball’s elite camp, 6-6.5 sophomore forward Isaiah Kelly severely turned his ankle during a pickup game going for a blocked shot.

Even though limited and in pain, Kelly showed enough potential that the Badgers couldn’t pass him up.

“It was real exciting,” Kelly told BadgerNation. “I feel like I was able to do all the intangibles and stuff like that, even though I couldn’t move and do things like I normally do. I was just trying to do everything I could do.”

Kelly is the first known 2018 prospect to hold a Wisconsin offer, and the opportunity came a day after Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan announced the 2015-16 season would be his last in Madison. A target of assistant coach Lamont Paris since the middle Kelly’s freshman basketball season, Paris explained how Ryan’s decision would impact Kelly with Wisconsin.

“Coach Paris was the first college coach I actually started talking to,” said Kelly. “We actually have a pretty good relationship together… He was saying that they don’t know who the next coach is going to be with Coach Ryan leaving. He said I still have three years to decide what to do. If I wanted to commit and the coaching staff completely changed, it’d be completely understandable if I wanted to de-commit.

“If the coaching staff stays there, I still feel I have a good relationship with all of them. The offer would still be on the table, and I would still have three years to get a relationship with the new coaching staff that would be coming in.”

The one thing that wouldn’t be changing with the Badgers is the academics, campus and facilities, three things that really stood out as Kelly hobbled around.

“They have a super big arena; the Kohl Center is really big,” said Kelly. “I like the facilities. They have a good training staff there. They treated me well. From what I can tell, the school feels like a family. It feels like a home almost, which is really nice … My mom is extremely into academics, so I have really good grades. I like the school’s academics, too.”

Wisconsin is Kelly’s third offer along with Xavier and Alcorn State, which offered him Wednesday. He also says Connecticut, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Marquette, Maryland and South Carolina, among others, have been showing him early interest.

And the interest shouldn’t be surprising considering Kelly said he’s added over two inches a year in height to his 190-pound frame.

“I’m supposed to max out around 6-9, so I guess I am on track so far,” said Kelly. “I feel I’m extremely athletic. I can get to the basket whenever I want to. I am still working on my outside shot. You always can improve on that. Coach Paris said I had extremely good intangibles. I talk on defense, run the floor and get to the free throw line. That’s the stuff they like about me.”

Transferring to Pace Academy this upcoming year, Kelly said he averaged 17.2 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, 2.4 steals and one block, for Augusta Christian. He’ll play on the AAU circuit for the Atlanta Express.


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