By: Nathan Rubinstein (@Nate_Rubinstein)
Not too fast Connecticut high school basketball fans, we still have one more season left of watching prospective guard Rich Kelly play at the high school ranks. However, instead of wearing a red and white Fairfield Prep Jesuit jersey, he will be rocking a blue, white and gold Cheshire Academy Fighting Cats uniform.
Although Cheshire Academy is right down the road from the Shelton, CT native, the competition that Kelly will be facing is a dramatic change from what he has matched up against in the CIAC, preparing him even more for his future collegiate destination. The distance from home, and schedule that is on deck for Cheshire Academy, were both factors when choosing a prep school for his post-graduate year.
“It (Cheshire Academy) is close enough where I can drive, so I can stay another year at home,” Kelly said. “It’s NEPSAC AA so it’s obviously great competition. It’s a good academic school, and I also have a couple of friends that go there.”
The 5-foot-11 guard is the definition of a floor general. I mean, we did after all see him help lead the Jesuits to a state championship his junior year in 2015 after losing the final game at Mohegan Sun Arena two years in a row prior. He has an extraordinary basketball IQ and gets everyone on the floor involved, while also looking for opportunities to pull his polished jump shot.
Kelly’s success at Fairfield Prep gained interest from DI programs such as Dartmouth, Holy Cross and Yale to name a few, and with the post-grad year at Cheshire Academy, don’t be surprised if more schools begin to dial his number.
“The schools that were interested in me, became more interested because I can get bigger, stronger and faster,” Kelly said. “Not a lot of new schools have reached out, but I think that might change in July.”
Kelly’s schedule has been packed so far this summer and will continue to be, playing in AAU tournaments with Project Triple Threat Elite out of Wallingford, Connecticut and ran by current Choate Rosemary Hall head coach, Drew Dawson. Along with AAU Kelly will be attending multiple exposure camps this summer, to make a great introduction to college coaches who didn’t get the chance to see him play at Fairfield Prep.
Coach Dawson, who formerly played point guard for Lafayette College and coached at the college level, has a handful of connections and will be having some DI coaches coming to see Kelly play this summer. It will all be up to the rising guard to show what he has in his arsenal.
“I just have to perform under the lights,” Kelly simply stated.
Those of us who saw him take control of games throughout his career in the CIAC know very well that when the lights turn on, Kelly is ready to play.