Everything has started to come together for Gainesville grad Brent Kelly in his first season at Truett McConnell.
In early December, Kelly earned the starting point guard spot for Bears. Just a week later, he was already starting to rewrite the Truett McConnell record books. In a Dec. 14 matchup against Allen University in Cleveland — just his second ever game as a part of the starting lineup — Kelly dished 16 assists, a single-game school record.
“Really, it was just getting the ball and pushing it, and my teammates were hitting shots,” Kelly said. “I just told my team before we got out there to run, and I was going to look for them. I just got everybody open looks, and they knocked down the shots.”
The moment was a high point in a successful start to a college career for Kelly, who spent only 10 games coming off the bench before Bears coach Jon Yeh decided it was time for him to start.
Kelly himself didn’t know about the lineup adjustment until the day of a game against Tennessee Wesleyan on Dec. 7, when Yeh pulled him aside for a quick word.
“He just told me that I’m starting off the game tonight,” Kelly said. “That’s all he said.”
It was exactly what Kelly had been hoping to hear since arriving in Cleveland.
“I was already ready for the opportunity,” he said. “And I took advantage of it.”
Kelly’s stats since that point in the year have certainly backed up his words.
His 60 assists on the year top the Bears, and he comes in at third on the team with 13 steals. He said it was tough to adjust to the increased pace of play and the shot clock early in the season, but things have started to slow down for him.
Off the court, the adjustment has been just as smooth.
“I kind of like being on my own,” he said.”Everything is my responsibility. When you grow up, you’ve got to have responsibilities. I like taking advantage of my responsibilities right now. I think I’m doing well.”
Going forward, Kelly said his main focus is to finish the season strong and to try to help Truett McConnell to make the conference tournament.
Outside of that, Kelly’s main focus is to continue to improve his game and be the best he can possibly be for his Bears teammates.
“I’m going to be in the gym, doing the same thing over and over again so I can come back next year and be more mature, more ready, stronger and just have more information about the game,” he said.