UPDATED 1:50 P.M.
Rashard Kelly’s one hesitation about playing basketball for Wichita State was its distance from his home in Virginia. Tammy Kelly, his mother, didn’t want that factor to spoil her son’s decision.
“He is so used to mom being able to get to almost all of his games,” Tammy Kelly said. “I told him, ‘Don’t worry about that. When you get to college, your mom can’t come to all of your games, anyway. If you like it, you take it.’”
Rashard Kelly loves everything else about Wichita State and the coaches and player erased any doubts he had about feeling comfortable in Kansas. On Thursday, he gave the Shockers an oral commitment. Kelly, a 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward from Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy, said he intends to sign with WSU in November.
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WSU coaches didn’t sugarcoat their program and Kelly, a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com, said he appreciated their straight talk about its demands and style of play.
“It’s like my home away from home,” he said. “I’m so glad to be a part of Shocker Nation.”
Kelly visited WSU last month. He also considered George Washington, Xavier, George Mason, Marshall and Towson State.
“He was looking for a family when he made his decision,” Tammy Kelly said. “Every coach at Wichita made him feel like family.”
Kelly played last year at Massanutten (Va.) Military Academy before transferring to Hargrave for a post-graduate year. Hargrave coach A.W. Hamilton describes him as a combo forward who is one of the nation’s top rebounders. Kelly is originally from the Fredricksburg, Va., area and played his freshman year at Chancellor High and two at Bishop O’Connell.
“He's a super-tough kid,” Hamilton said last month. “He can guard a wing. He can guard a big. He’s a big-time athlete.”
Kelly said he gets most of his points by driving and scoring in the lane. While he can make three-pointers, he is working on extending his range on his jump-shot.
“I like going hard and going at it,” he said. “I like defense and I take pride in getting stops.”
He gets his toughness from playing against older kids growing up, according to his mother. Because of his size, he always played up in age group.
“Rashard is a very young, ambitious, strong basketball player,” she said. “He doesn’t back down.”
Kelly is the second player to make a non-binding commitment to WSU. Forward Zach Brown, who recently transferred to Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, committed to WSU in May.