Top Junior Target Visits UVa

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As the Virginia men’s basketball coaching staff prepares for a busy September with respect to 2008 class recruiting, head coach Dave Leito and company got a jump on the 2009 class by hosting talented Ravenscroft School (Raleigh, N.C.) center Ryan Kelly this past Saturday. The 6-9, 190-pound Kelly, who had received a scholarship offer from Virginia prior to the trip, enjoyed the experience.

Saturday’s trip provided Kelly with an opportunity to get to know the Virginia coaches on a deeper level.

“They expressed to me that I would fit the profile of a Virginia student and athlete,” Kelly said. “They said I fit the vision for their program. They said they knew if I continue to develop, they would see good skills for their program.

“What really impressed me was how they are just not focused on me being a basketball player,” Kelly said later. “They are focused on academics and athletics, being the best person you can be and sending student athletes off in a good direction when they are done with college.”

Kelly was accompanied on the trip by his parents. His mother Doreen, who is now the Head of School at Ravenscroft, played volleyball for Villanova and Penn, respectively, while his father played basketball at Yale. His father also played professionally in France.

“We drove up on Friday night. I met with the coaches about 9 a.m. on Saturday,” Kelly said. “I got to talk with all the coaches a little while. Coach Leitao and the rest of the staff took me around John Paul Jones Arena. They got to show me everything. We drove around the entire campus and they showed me all the different buildings. We walked around the campus and I saw some new students walking by. I went to the Lawn, which obviously is well known. Then I talked to the coaches more.”

This was not Kelly’s first experience in Charlottesville, though it was his first opportunity to check out the John Paul Jones Arena.

“I’ve been to the Southern Invitational the last two years,” Kelly said. “This visit was the first time I had ever gotten to go into the John Paul Jones Arena and see the whole facility.

“After seeing it, it is a very impressive facility.