By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– Standing in front of the Gervais Boys Basketball team stood a guy a little bigger than seven-feet tall.
The redshirt freshman spoke about how hard work, on the court as well as in the classroom, pays off. How he wished he paid more attention to his studies as he did balling, but he also showed that it bettered him as a collegiate student-athlete.
This guy, this monster of a man, was Cougar alum Kylor Kelley.
The quiet, yet kind, 19-year-old spoke about how nice it was to be back in the gym that he once called home a few years ago.
“It’s great, some of these (guys) are my old teammates, some of the seniors are my old teammates,” said Kelley. “It’s cool to see them to be able to play where I use to, see them on the floor.”
One of those seniors, was Derrick Jaramillo, who played with Kelley during his sophomore year, Kelley’s senior year at GHS.
Jaramillo said how awesome it is to see his former teammate being able to achieve his dreams, no matter how small Gervais is.
“I think it’s awesome how he pushed himself to be successful with his dreams and seeing him being so successful coming straight out of Gervais, it’s pretty awesome,” said Jaramillo about his former teammate.
For current Head Coach Ben Schultz, to have Kelley come out means a lot more than the X’s and O’s on the grease board during a basketball game.
“It’s great,” said Schultz. “For a guy who have success at the next level, talk about what he does and some other things, it means a lot to these guys. They look up to them.. He flat out said, and I love it, about academics. He wasn’t the best student, but he talked to them about it because if any of these guys have any aspirations of playing at that next level, glad he mentioned it.”
When it comes to the classroom, Kelley mentioned about how he wants to Major in Business as he continue to succeed on the basketball court.
In 10 games this season for Northwest Christian University (NCU), Kelley’s averaging 8.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.6 blocks a game. His stats in blocks in near tops in most of collegiate sports.
Now, why NCU?
He based it on the basketball knowledge of one Luke Jackson, a four-year NBA veteran who played in Cleveland, the LA Clippers, Toronto Raptors and the Miami Heat from 2004-2008.
“I chose NCU because Coach Luke Jackson, he played in the NBA… he’s a great coach,” Kelley said. “He shows some great qualities as a coach, it takes good care of his players and that’s probably the best quality.”
At 9-3 and climbing the rankings of the NAIA, Kelley is enjoying the success of the team so far this season.
“Oh I like it, we’re doing pretty good I think,” said Kelley.“I think if we keep focusing on our goals which is winning a conference championship and a National Championship. I think it’ll roll over to next year.”
Next year, and the year after that. Kelley hopes to contend and win a National Championship every year he’s there while finishing up his career as he laces up his sneakers to do some individual work while his high school practices around him.
“I hope to win the National Tournament Championship this year and the year after that and all four years,” starts Kelley. “And graduate with a degree and hopefully play overseas.”