Sophomore sensation Shae Kelley has not disappointed
One player has proven that with a positive mindset, hard work and a good support system that it is not so difficult to defy the odds.
She has thrived as the Lady Monarchs best player and arguably one of the best in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Sophomore forward Shae Kelley has come up big for the Lady Monarchs numerous times this season. With a game-high 19 points and a career-high 17 rebounds to complement three steals, three blocks and two assists, Kelley led the Lady Monarchs comeback against UNC Wilmington. This marked her sixth double-double this season.
Kelley gives all praise to her teammates and coaches when speaking about her transition between schools. “Just coming from my junior college it hasn’t been hard, it was a smooth transition coming from junior college here just because my teammates and my coaches most of all have made it easy to make that transition.” She has quickly adjusted and made herself well known in the CAA.
Despite transferring three times in high school, Kelley was able to lead Denver East to win the state championship her senior year, earning the title of Ms. Colorado Player of the Year. Kelley then committed to the University of Colorado, due to coaching changes; she made the risky decision of transferring to the junior college, Northwest Florida State. Now, at Old Dominion University, Kelley has found a place that she can call home away from home.
After leaving two other basketball programs, there had to be something that set Old Dominion University’s apart from the others. “I’d have to say a family. I can talk to coaches about different things, not just basketball, off the court stuff too; that’s kind of key for a player, especially for a player that’s transferred that many times, moving around it’s kind of hard but when you find somewhere that they’re welcoming and you can really relate to them, it’s key.”
Kelley received junior college All-American honors last season, while averaging 13.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. She was ranked number nine for overall junior college player and number three at the forward position.
Not only is Kelley a role model on the court, she is also one in the community. When speaking about her future, Kelley remains optimistic about the WNBA or playing overseas, but she also plans on giving back to her community. “I do want to work with kids. Back home we have a rec center and it’s really hard for kids to find somewhere to play, so I want to open a 24-hour fitness and have a lot of different gyms in there and a pool, so that kids can come late night because there’s nothing to do. I want to open a rec center for kids and teenagers.
“It has definitely been a process, but it’s been a good learning process and you know I really enjoyed my time at my JUCO. Going from a D1 to a JUCO actually helped me in the long run because if I would have went straight to a D1 I would have lost a year and not been able to get my fifth senior year back. So the journey has been long but it’s been really good.”
Kelley will be a key factor for the Lady Monarchs in the tough match up against Drexel this Sunday. “A team effort just like last time, we beat them already so we can definitely do it again, but we’re going to their place so of course they’re going to be ready for us. I think it’s going to take an all-around team effort and we have to get out there on defense. We can’t come out lackadaisical on the first half like we have.”
By: Jasmine Blackwell