Saturday, May 24, 2008

Raleigh forward Ryan Kelly scores 26, shows versatility at tournament

The fans came to Cameron Indoor Stadium mainly to see John Wall on Saturday afternoon in the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions.

Wall is the top point guard in the Class of 2009, a Raleigh resident who appears certain to be North Carolina’s first McDonald’s All-American since Chris Paul in 2003. His D-One Sports teammate, Ryan Kelly, was nearly as impressive.

Kelly, a 6-foot-9 rising senior forward from Raleigh, scored on a variety of hook shots and post-ups from either block. He also made a 3-pointer and drove the lane en route to 26 points in a win over the Arkansas Hawks.

He recently was offered a scholarship by North Carolina and includes Wake Forest, N.C. State and Davidson on his list of possible schools.

“When people see me, they like my versatility and ability to score in a lot of different ways,” Kelly said.

Kelly said he is in the gym every morning at 6:30 to get about 300 to 350 shots up before school. Although he still could add muscle, his timing and vision help compensate for this lack of strength.

Wall is more gifted than Kelly and might make more highlight-caliber plays than anybody else in the tournament. But he also takes plays off on defense and tries to make spectacular passes when simple ones will do.

- Wall’s Raleigh Word of God teammate, C.J. Leslie, committed to N.C. State so early that a lot of people didn’t know what to think of him.

He was barely finished with his freshman season when he accepted a scholarship offer from Sidney Lowe. It’s becoming obvious that Lowe made an excellent evaluation with that early offer. (No. 13 in the class) and Prep Stars (No. 17) both have Leslie highly rated. He’s a 6-foot-8 forward who blocks a lot of shots for the Worldwide Renegades Black team.

He also runs the floor well, attacks the boards and has a good finishing touch on the fast break.

- One of the most impressive performances in the tournament Saturday came from Team Breakdown guard Kenny Boynton of Plantation, Fla.

He scored 19 first-half points en route to 23 in a win Saturday evening. He made five 3-pointers in the first half at Reynolds Coliseum and completed a four-point play with a free throw after one of them.

“For this tournament that’s a first,” Boynton said. “But in other tournaments, that’s typical.”

Boynton may be Duke’s top backcourt target in the 2009 senior class. He said he also is considering Memphis, Texas, Georgia Tech and Florida, and wants to play both guard spots in college.

“I need to get more comfortable at the point guard position,” he said.

He already looks more than comfortable at shooting guard.

- Shawn Kemp Jr., son of the former NBA player, shows potential as a defender and rebounder for the Worldwide Renegades Black.

He also had one nice turnaround baseline jumper in a game Saturday morning at Cary Academy. Though he’s not a top-100 prospect, he’s such a good shot blocker at 6-9 that he could earn himself a high major scholarship this summer.

- Ken Tysiac