Tuesday, September 27, 2016

AugBball on the Recruiting Trail: Isaiah Kelly - 6'7" F, Pace Academy

Isaiah Kelly, Pace Academy's 6'7" 205 pound junior forward, who transferred there from Augusta Christian after his freshman season, has compiled a stunning list of accomplishments only halfway through his high school years. Fresh off a class 2A state title, Kelly has received scholarship offers from at least a dozen division 1 schools. His achievements aren't limited to the court. Isaiah sports a 3.6 GPA and counts three offers from some of the top academic institutions in the world, Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Isaiah may soon become the most highly recruited area player in a very long time. His approach to basketball, school, and other extracurricular activities greatly impressed me.

Here's our interview, which was conducted over the course of a day last Wednesday:

Chad: Rivals lists scholarship offers to you from Iowa State, Memphis, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Xavier, and Alcorn State. You tweeted this week that Georgia and Penn offered you.
And 247Sports.com  also lists offers from Rutgers, Harvard, Princeton, and Cincinnati. Is that a complete and accurate list of the schools that have offered you a scholarship?

Isaiah: Yes sir.

Chad: Have you already decided which schools you will make official visits to?

Isaiah: I have no idea. It's way to early to decide.

Chad: I figured that. Will you wait until next year to start taking visits?

Isaiah: Yes sir. I will probably take them next fall.

Chad: I know you had a busy Spring and Summer, playing AAU ball and probably doing a lot in June with Pace. What have been your main activities - whether related to basketball, school, or life in general - in August and September as the season approaches?

Isaiah: The main thing that was a necessity for me was getting rest and making sure I get ready for the long high school season. Once AAU ended I took a month off where I only got shots up.

Schoolwise, Pace is extremely demanding. So I have to stay focused all of the time and stay on top of things. I have just been staying focused in school and working on my craft in my other free time.

Chad: That's very smart. Rest is such a big deal and most guys don't get enough of it.

Isaiah: Yes sir it really is.

Chad: Speaking of your demanding workload at Pace, I assume you are doing as well in the classroom as you are on the court or else schools like Harvard, Princeton, Penn, and Vanderbilt wouldn't be recruiting you. Tell me about your results in the classroom, or even any extra curricular activities besides basketball.

Isaiah: My grades are very good. I have a 3.6 GPA at Pace, which is very good and the same as a 4.0 almost everywhere else. 

And I do some pottery in my free time at the school. Here's some of my work. (right)

Chad: Dude a 3.6 GPA is awesome. And the pottery work may even be more impressive. I love it.

Isaiah: Thanks.

Chad: Did you first think to make pottery at Pace, or is that something you dabbled with before going there?

Isaiah: I took a class here and then just picked it up.

Chad: So take what you know about what it takes to excel on the court and compare that to what it takes to excel in the classroom and in activities like making pottery. What are the similarities as far as lessons that you have learned about what it takes to be successful in any endeavor you choose to put your mind to?

Isaiah: You have to be focused and know what you're not good at. I know my weaknesses on the court and in the class room. You have to strengthen those and strengthen your strengths at the same time. 

Chad: Your former Pace teammate Zack Kaminsky plays ball at Penn now. And Wendell Carter put Harvard on the list of his top four schools.

You have drawn interest from at least three Ivy League schools. Is being a great student and getting access to great opportunities in the classroom at the next level something that you concentrate on doing?

Isaiah: For sure. I have my goal of playing in the NBA. But I also know what it takes to make a lot of money. So I think about it often. It all depends and which opportunity is best for me.

Chad: Last question. Even though you are only a junior, you've experienced many different situations. Describe the main differences between your experiences at Pace compared to your experiences before moving to the Atlanta area.

Isaiah: The overall vibe is different. The city has more commotion and a lot of different things are going.

School is a lot harder, and the competition is better.


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