There are games during which Andre Kelly is such a man among boys that you expect him to post up right in front of the rim on every play and bully his way to the hoop like a budding Shaquille O’Neal. Just then, the 6’8” power forward brings the ball up the court, dribbles into the paint, executes a 360 degree spin move, and dunks with two hands. On a subsequent play, he’ll outrun a much smaller help defender to receive a lengthy pass and swoop in for the uncontested layup. There are so many dimensions to Kelly’s game that one site lists him as a forward, center, and guard.
Kelly committed to the California Golden Bears basketball program last weekend, so Golden Bear fans should look forward to his freshman campaign of 2018-19 no matter where Wyking Jones plans to use him. Kelly has been classified as a three-star prospect, and his reputation seems to be rising with each passing game.
Kelly has one season left at Lincoln High School in Stockton, where his performance has improved dramatically from year to year. As a freshman, he made more impact on the boards (7.4 rpg) than on offense (5.8 ppg), although it’s worth mentioning that he accomplished all that in just 18 minutes per game. Kelly’s 1.6 blocks per contest also stood out considering his newcomer status. Kelly’s playing time increased by double digits as a sophomore, and his efficiency also soared. Where he hit 52% of his two-point attempts in 2014-15, Kelly nailed 61% of them during the 2015-16 campaign. He also added some range, although Kelly is unlikely to be a three-point threat at the collegiate level.
However, Kelly has the ability to help his team in many other ways. After compiling an impressive 18.8 points per game as a sophomore, that figure ballooned to 24.1 ppg on 63% shooting as a junior (66% when excluding three-point attempts). He added 15.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.9 blocks on a nightly basis in 2016-17. Why such an improvement despite basically the same usage? A look at the tape provides some clues. Kelly is able to score even in difficult circumstances. Despite being positioned directly under the hoop, he is able to contort himself enough to have a clear shot at a layup, which he converts. Later, he has the talent and confidence to find the twine despite a clear triple team being deployed against him. While he seems to prefer playing offense from the dribble, he does have the option of some simple post moves as well. He certainly gained experience from playing with his Oakland AAU squad known as Team Arsenal.
It’s obvious that Kelly’s teammates at Lincoln feed him the ball whenever possible, but he’s smart enough to reciprocate when the defense becomes too suffocating. During one sequence, he rises for the shot before thinking better of it and instead making a pass to the perimeter. Kelly seems to bring out the best in his teammates. It must be inspiring to see a player with great body control and the strength to power dunk through the lane keep hustling on fast breaks. If that’s not an example of a player with a great motor, I’m not sure what is. All in all, it’s happy news that Kelly has chosen to play his home games at Haas Pavilion.