Weight: 202 lbs
Patrick Kelly is no stranger to making major life decisions when it comes to basketball. As a sophomore Kelly moved across the country, from Arizona to Virginia to play prep-basketball and get into the AAU circuit. As a freshman he should be ahead of the curve in terms of adjusting to life on his own, which will hopefully allow him to focus on academics and basketball.
What He Did Last Year
For his senior season of high school Kelly took his talents south, moving from Virginia to Florida to play for IMG Academy, and winning a national championship with a star-studded team. With teammates getting ready to suit-up for Arizona and Villanova this year, Kelly comes in with experience playing against top-level talent on a national level. Rather than the speed of the game, I expect the physicality of the Big Ten and college basketball in general to be his greatest challenge during his freshman year.
What We Need This Year
Patrick Kelly will benefit from the depth ahead of him on the roster. Going up against Lamar Stevens and John Harrar in practice every day, and learning from their in-game approach will provide gains for Kelly and the team as a whole even if we don’t see him putting in major minutes in games. His game is most similar to Trent Buttrick, and his path towards relevancy on the court may follow a similar path.
Three-Point Shooting. We may end-up sounding like a broken record in these player previews, because Penn State basketball is always in need of shooting, particularly from 3-point range. Volume won’t be the thing to key in on here, just some success shooting the ball in games, and having decent form while doing it will provide some hope in Kelly’s future at Penn State.
Versatility. It’s unlikely that Kelly will be called upon in a major situation in a game this year, and equally unlikely that he steps right into a role as a stretch-four with Buttrick ahead of him as well as the growing pains that come with being a freshman in the Big Ten. So he’ll need to prove he can do the little things: from providing a challenge to the starters during practice to defending and going all-out for loose balls if he sees the court during the non-conference schedule.