Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
As reported earlier today by ZAGSBLOG, Ryan Kelly has pledged to play for Duke.
“With strong confidence I look forward to playing at Duke University next year,” Kelly said Thursday night on ESPNU.
The 6-foot-10 forward from Raleigh (NC) Ravenscroft School chose Duke over Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Georgetown and Wake Forest.
“I’ve taken a lot of time and I’ve looked at all these schools very thoroughly…and really it all came down to a gut felling,” Kelly said. “I think everything about it was the best fit for me and I just can’t wait to get there now.”
Kelly said that even though Duke coach Mike Krzyewski was busy coaching the Olympic team over the summer, he met with Kelly and his family upon his return from winning a gold medal in Beijing.
“He just wasn’t here,” Kelly said. “That was the most important thing for him, to win a gold medal. He basically told me to wait until he got back. ‘Don’t make any decisions until I get back.’ Once he got back, I had a chance to sit down with him again and we went from there.”
And what are Kelly’s goals?
“I want to contribute,” he said. “I’m going to work hard to be the best I can be and be the best teammate. If i can get on the floor, I’m going to get on the floor and I want to get on the floor. I’m going to work hard to get there.”
Kelly is a 4.2 student who got 2150 on his SAT. He also averaged 24 points last season and this summer competed with the U.S. U18 National Team that reached the finals of the FIBA Americas Championship in Argentina.
ESPNU analyst Paul Biancardi said Duke is getting an exceptional talent and a good kid in Kelly.
“You’re gonna get size, exceptional shooting ability and an exceptional student,” he said. “A classy young man. The best pick-and-pop guy in the class of 2009.”
(photo courtesy USA Basketball)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.