J.T. Kelly is a reliable presence both on the basketball court and in the classroom, which made him a fitting choice for the Ponte Vedra High School December Scholar-Athlete of the Month.
The senior is a guard on the Sharks’ boys basketball team where he averages 10.3 points per game, and is also among the top 10 academically in his class with a 4.65 weighted GPA.
“My parents were thrilled to find out about the honor,” Kelly said. “It is a showcase of all the hard work that has been put in.”
Although he is still figuring out what path he wants to pursue for a future career, he has begun to focus on the possibilities of something in business or finance, especially since his dad has worked in finance so he has some familiarity with how the industry works.
His dad also played college basketball, and as a result, the sport has been a big part of Kelly’s life since he could walk.
“Basketball is the family sport,” Kelly said. “There’s baby pics of me with a basketball.”
Kelly played in middle school and on the junior varsity squad as a freshman before making varsity as a sophomore.
Kevin Whirity came in as head coach in Kelly’s first year on varsity and he has seen the team’s growth continue over the past three years.
“It is super intense but a lot of fun, and success has come with that,” Kelly said.
The areas where Kelly has helped the Sharks the most this season is with the combination of stingy defense and lights out three-point shooting.
Among his individual goals he is striving for during his senior season include averaging 2.5 steals and three-pointers per game.
“My personal goals were involved with the building of the team in mind,” Kelly said.
He is currently averaging 1.9 steals per contest and has shot 42% from beyond the arc, including draining six three-pointers in a game twice this season.
Kelly’s defensive mindset has really increased since Whirtey took over.
“He’s made sure we’re all buying in, and it shows,” Kelly said. “We only allowed 38 points per game last year.”
According to Kelly, he has had a knack for putting the ball in the basket since middle school.
He is a fan of the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association, and he has always thought his game modeled that of J.J. Redick, who he grew up watching. His favorite current player is Joel Embiid.
Kelly has created several athletic and academic memories during his time at Ponte Vedra, and he understands that starts and ends with the school’s staff.
“My teachers have been great over the years,” Kelly said.
One of his most interesting courses he has taken was Martin Hillier’s physics class.
“It really taught me how to think critically, and try to find different routes to answers,” Kelly said.
Katilyn Collazo’s art history class was another that he will remember for how much he enjoyed it.
“I’m not a big art guy, but I found it so interesting,” Kelly said.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here