Ryan Kelly helped Ravenscroft go 2-1 during the Glaxo Smith Kline Invitational and his play earned him not only a spot on the All Tournament team, but his bracket's Most Outstanding Player Award. [private]
Kelly was visibly disappointed after his teams loss to Centennial where the wheels came off and the
lack of depth in the Ravens' back court was exposed by constant pressure.
Ravenscroft hopes to bounce back against Word of God this coming Wednesday. John Wall, C,J. Leslie and company will travel over to participate in a big game on both teams schedule. Unfortunately for Duke fans, Duke hosts Davidson and Curry that same evening.
Kelly was able to talk with Coach Krzyzewski after his teams loss as we passed to do an interview.
Kelly attended yesterday's Duke-Loyola game as did the Plumlees. They were also able to meet with Andre Dawkins, a class of 2010 commitment.
Part I -
What does a guy like Ryan Kelly do with his time off?
Go to church, get some shots up, go to movies and hang out with my girlfriend.
A girlfriend? How long have you two been together?
About a year now (smiling). Her name is Lindsey Cowher. She plays for the Girls team at Ravenscroft.
And she is the daughter of Bill Cowher the former Pittsburgh Steelers coach? Whats it like to be around him?
I am very fortunate. I've had a lot of good opportunities and met a lot of good people in my life. My parents are great. I've been blessed. I'm having a fun time and just finishing my senior year of high school.
Is it hard to go through all of these tournaments and then get it back together for school?
We'll find out. (laughing) No, I think I handle it pretty well being responsible. We have our study halls after school and we all do a good job
Your Coach, Kevin Billerman said you were able to talk to the Duke coaches a lot ...
Yeah, I talk to them pretty consistently after their games. I let them know about my season and they let me know how theirs is going. Obviously they are doing pretty well.
Were you able to talk with Wojo or Collins the other night?
No, the timing ... they probably left just before the game ended.
Do the Duke coaches give you a heads up when they are coming?
Yeah, they let me know when they are coming most of the time.
Part II (after his teams loss to Cetennial)
That was a tough loss, but Ryan Kelly will bounce back. What will you do in order for that to happen?
We just have to play better as a team and get our confidence back. At Chic-Fil-A we lost a couple because we jumped to some really good teams. I felt like we had gotten it back a little bit (to straight coming in) ... actually I felt we had it (confidence) back to where it should be, but today it disappeared.
You played a good game, so it must have been frustrating that your team played well early only to come apart in the second half.
We never let it slip to the point where we weren't in it. We just couldn't get over to hump to get it under ten again. We kept it close for awhile but thats where the confidence comes in tying to get over the hump. [/private]
[private]Ravenscroft won their third consecutive game by disposing of Panther Creek 77-53. The Ravens put on a shooting clinic for much of the game ending up 73.5% from the field and a whopping 77.8% from the three point stripe.
The Ravens lost their first two games of the season during the Chic-Fil-A Invitational before winning their final contest of the event. Those losses did not settle with Coach Billerman and his
team and thus far they've played with a chip on their shoulder in the continuing Glaxo Invitational in Raleigh, North Carolina.
"This is the type of basketball I think we can play. We started the game against their trapping defense hitting some wide open shots. We held them to four offensive rebounds and if we can do that every day, we'll be hard to beat," said Billerman shortly after the contest. The Ravenscroft Coach continued, "In my nine years it may have been the best game Ravenscroft has played."
Part of the resurgence can be attributed to their go-to player, Ryan Kelly. The Duke commitment scored a game high 30 points going 11 of 14 from the field to go with his 5 rebounds and two assists.
Kelly was 11 of 11 before missing a three point shot to break the streak.
"We got good shots early on and the whole team was knocking them down," said Kelly. "We were pushing the ball real well today and shooting as good as we did from three is pretty amazing."
Luke Davis also asserted himself with 20 points, while Panther Creek was led by Auburn commitment Earnest Ross with 29 points. "We are a good passing team when Luke has his energy. A lot of people don't know that he has been really sick. At Chic-Fil-A in South Carolina he wasn't himself but I thought you saw a pretty complete player today who was able to penetrate past their guards and allow others to score," said Billerman.
Ravenscroft now has a chance to win their bracket championship on Tuesday evening and carry that momentum into the rest of the season. "It means a lot to Ravenscroft. Playing for a Glaxo Championship is something we'll talk about over the break and we'll give our hardest effort in order to do that."
Kelly later told BDN, "We wanted to come in here and show some people something. It's important because a huge chunk of the City of Raleigh is coming out to watch these games and they want to see a championship game between two good teams and we are happy to be one of them."
The Ravens will play the winner of the Centennial-Knightdale game which will be played at 5:40 today. The championship game will start at 7:20 on Tuesday. In the other bracket, tonight's Christ School-Kinston winner plays in the nightcap versus the winner of Word of God or St. Raymonds.
For an in depth one on one interview with Ryan Kelly, join Blue Devil Nation Premium and get complete inside access. There are already premium articles and interviews up with Plumlee and John Wall. Members also have access to our message board where we will be blogging live from the event. For some of the best recruiting and inside new available, join today and see what you are missing.[/private]
The Blue Devil Nation was on the scene for the 37th Annual Tournament where we caught all of the action in a sold out venue. We talked with John Wall about the recruiting process and where he stands. BDNP talked to Duke commitment Ryan Kelly as well. The following is an in depth report laced with plenty of details and full of scouting reports, interviews, pictures and behind the scenes chatter. We will continue our live blog of the event on the Premium Message Board this afternoon. It's a great time to join Blue Devil Nation Premium. Details for membership are in the menu just under our name. [private]
Word of God - When Word of God players arrived in the media room, John Wall, CJ Leslie and Bishop Daniels joked about with each other about missed finger rolls or dunks. While the three got along well together off the court, there were time when some of the Word of God players seemed to take their shots when they got them for fear of not getting enough shots.
John Wall - Word of God is very athletic and the crowd really got into their game. But all of their players seemed to want to make the showboat play. Wall would show off his ball skills in an almost taunting manner when guarded one on one. There was one short, stocky kid which got a five second call on Wall after his showboating. That's a call he'll talk about to his family about one day when Wall is in the NBA.
In reality, his team is giving the crowd what they want and they run the court non stop, but did play a zone this evening which is uncharacteristic of their team. Quite simply, WOG plays on emotion and their talent allows them to try and do things other teams wish they could.
Wall showed the ability to make amazing dunks from any and every angle. His leaping ability is something to behold, especially considering he gets up so quickly. He can make up ground like no other guard in the country and came floating through the air effortlessly for two blocks and a third which was called a foul.
Wall is a streaky outside shooter. He would nail a couple and then miss one badly. His strength is going to the hole and he actually needed the ball in his hands more in order to create on the break. His half court PG skills need work, but he is a motor guy who will be a star on any level.
ESPN is doing a documentary on Wall and a piece for an upcoming ESPNU show. The camera seems to follow Wall everywhere in an almost comical fashion, be it in the
stands before the game or close enough to see sweat glands at work in the team huddle.
Much has been made of past attitudes and problems with Wall. His coach had this to say, "One of the things that people don't see is the strides that these guys has made as young men. If you were to interview people that knew these guys years ago, they would tell you what they have developed most is not their game, but their character.
My Q & A with John Wall - (Keep in mind there is limited time during this event and I fired off as many questions as I could which was pretty much half the questions asked total)
Somebody is going to bring up recruiting and where you are in the process, can you speak of that? There was a TV camera on you quite a bit. Is this the continuation of the documentary they were filming since the last time I talked to you in person at the Peach Jam.
"I'm not sure, really. I think that's ESPN," said Wall who then turned to his coach asking, "Is that ESPN 360 ... I think?"
When will you trim your list?
"I think I will do it when I take two or three more visits. When I take my last couple of visits that's when I will try to trim my list down and make a decision in April."
Are any of those visits set or in the near future?
"I've got to take one to Miami and Baylor and then I've got to take one more after that."
... and your list consists of?
"Kansas, Memphis, Baylor, Miami, N.C. State, Duke and Oregon."
Rising Star Bishop Daniels- Daniels was a sharp witted youngster witha big smile and seemed mature beyond his years. When asked about playing with Leslie and Wall. "Man they treat me like a little kid. They treat me like the baby. (room laughing) It's fun playing with them. I go at them hard because they go at me hard. They try to hurt me in practice (Jokingly), but it's different with two superstars on the court. I'm trying to show what I can do on the courts too." I then asked him to tell me something nobody knows about John Wall and CJ Leslie as both players put their faces in their hands. "CJ is a clown and Johns a clown too. They like to have fun, more fun than anybody I know." Once in the hallway, I asked Bishop where he thought Wall might be leaning. "It depends on which day it is. He changes back and forth all the time."
Ryan Kelly -Kelly continued his perimeter play often handling the ball out front in his teams opening night win. Kelly scored 21 points grabbed 4 boards and had 3 blocks. Ravenscroft defeated Apex 71-56 and the opponent had nothing to combat the size of the Ravens.
Kelly flushed three dunks and handled the ball well. When he did take the ball in low, it allowed him to kick back out to teammates for open shots. Kelly still needs a little work on his three point stroke, but his movement is smooth. Again, I am impressed by his length when challenged defensively. He easily mad up ground against shorter players. He will be in action again this evening.
Ravenscroft teammate Matt Wilson who is heading to UNC-Wilmington had a solid game where he tallied 18 points. FWIW, the official stats seem to need an extra stat person for they indeed differ from what many of us are keeping.
Former Duke player and Ravenscroft coach Kevin Billermans comments -
Opening statement - "Our guards made some threes early which opened the game up for us and our defensive pressure allowed us to open it up to twenty points."
He wanted folks to know his team has not been healthy- "One of the things that people don't understand is that Madison is coming off a sprained ankle and has not been able to practice for an extended period of time. Luke Davis our PG had streped throat down in South Carolina and did not have the energy he normally had. When those two guys are healthy they created plays where Matt and Ryan can finish."
I asked about how he was using Ryan and that it seemed different from last year -We wanted to feature Matt (Wilson) more in the post this year. Most teams don't have two big men. With Ryan, he's so skilled and can create shots for himself Matt and our perimeter players.
Q and A with Kelly-
Did this game help your team get back on track after dropping one of three games in the Chic-Fil-A tournament?
"Yeah, definitely! We began to get into a little bit of rhythm once now that this tournament has begun. Obviously we didn't do as well as we would have like down at the Chic-Fil-A tournament. But we finished with a win there and started off with one here and hopefully that can translate as we continue into the tournament."
I asked Kelly if having Chris Collins and his Father Doug in the stands got him more pumped up -
"I go out in every game prepared to play as hard as I can. It's great to see that the coaches are supporting me, but I play the same with every game - the same emotion.
Chris Collins and Doug Collins - It's always great to see these two basketball
purists together. They were going over X's and O's during the game and ESPN was sure to get a shot of them. Kelly stopped over to talk with them after I talked with him. Once a player is committed coaches are allowed to talk with their kids.
I will be covering the event today and will have a live blog going on the message board for members. Mason Plumlee plays this evening followed by Ryan Kelly. [/private]