- Alma School District
Kelley enjoys recruiting process
Music: Luke Combs and Kane Brown
TV Show(s): One Tree Hill, Friday Night Lights and Grey's Anatomy
Favorite Food: Italian
Favorite Subject: "Math (although Calculus is making me rethink that."
Best Advice: "My mom used to play motivational videos all the time when I was a kid. I still listen to some when I need it. I get my best advice through those. And it's not just one, it's a compilation of all of them."
Advice for young players: 'My advice to others is to never let big or small things stop you. Because throughout your whole life, you're gonna hit small bumps, but never let those bumps stop you from getting to where you want to go."
Kelley enjoys recruiting process
By Kevin Taylor
Loyrn Kelley has heard the whispers for a long time: 'Don't blink or it's over.'
The Alma senior basketball standout hasn't decided where she'll continue her basketball career. But she's learned a lot about herself in the process.
"The recruiting process has been fun and stressful at the same time," she said. "It's fun because I do get random phone calls or texts from places I have never heard of. And after I talk with them, I have a lot of fun researching the school and the town. I love sitting down with my parents and looking at all the different places.
"It's something I will miss when it's over."
To be fair, Kelley isn't getting phone calls from Mike Neighbors at the University of Arkansas. But good grades, hard work and a vision beyond high school has her one step ahead of most of her classmates.
Loryn Kelley is ready for the next step.
She recently toured Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) in Waxahachie, Texas, a quaint town famous for its century-old Victorian homes about 25 minutes from Dallas.
There are plenty of other visits, past and future, Kelley's excited about. Kelley's is in no hurry to sign with anyone.
"For the longest time, I wanted to decide before the season started so I could have fun my senior year and not worry about anything," she said. "But Covid has changed that."
It didn't help, Kelley said, that she was sidelined in the summer of 2019 with an injury.
"Most schools had never seen me until this past summer, when I was lucky enough to go play in tournaments where coaches watched through livestream, and go to camps in nearby states," she said. "So under those circumstances, I decided to wait until I'm sure I have the school that fits me. Now, whether that's right before season, during season or after the season, I don't know."
Kelley and the Lady Airedales open the season Nov. 20 against Springdale.
"My game has improved significantly," she said. "My sophomore year, I never played as well as most thought I would. I had hurt my knee the summer before. I was still scared I would hurt it again, so I never played as hard as I normally would have. I had the knee surgery at the end of the season. Leading up to my junior year, I knew my knee was healed and that I would be fine."
During her rehab, Kelley said, she hit another obstacle — gaining weight.
"I had gained a lot of weight over the six-month period I was rehabbing my knee. Due to that I was a lot slower," she said. "I focused on getting my 3-point shot a lot better. I thought I played really well that year, but I knew I could be better. When we got quarantined, it was honestly a blessing for my game. Because we couldn’t practice, I had to find other ways to stay in shape and keep shooting. Thankfully my church let me use their gym to get shots up. We ended up calling my old travel ball coach and asking him to come do one-on-one workouts."
While rehabbing, Kelley also started doing crossfit.
"My footwork and speed in my legs have gotten 10 times better," she said. "I remember the first practice we were able to have in the summer, all three of my coaches were shocked at how much quicker I had gotten. Because of all that, I know my senior year will be so much better."
As for the future, and the recruiting process, Kelley leans on her instincts.
"I can get a better feel for that when I go on visits and sit down and talk with the coach," she said. "There are certain things where I can tell it's a place I would fit. Other times, I can tell by watching a practice and seeing how the players act. Some places I feel like I could walk onto the court and the girls would take me in, like they have known me forever. Those are the kind of places that I think fit better for me.
"I consider a good fit a place where I feel at home — somewhere where I know I can feel safe and loved."
Playing close to home would be a nice fit, too. The drive from Alma to Waxahachie takes about five hours. Other places, such as Arkadelphia — which is home to Henderson State and Ouachita Baptist — are obviously much closer.
"Distance does not necessarily matter as much to me as much as it matters to my parents," Kelley said. "I believe, if I feel that I would truly fit at that school, and if I think that's where God has a plan for me, then I won't look at distance anymore."