Notre Dame Basketball

Coach | Potential Transfer Target Rich Kelly An "Old School Point Guard"

March 21, 2020

When Tom Moore was replaced as head coach of Quinnipiac by Baker Dunleavy in March of 2017, the head coach at Cheshire Academy urged Dunleavy to put his faith in Rich Kelly, a 6-foot point guard who had been offered a scholarship by Moore.

“I said, ‘Coach, here’s what I’m going to tell you, I can’t tell you now because nobody will understand it until they coach him,’” Kevin Kehoe recalls. “I said, ‘You should stick to the scholarship and after you coach him, you’ll know what I was going to tell you.’”

Dunleavy did and Kelly committed to the Bobcats a day later. Kelly was Dunleavy’s starting point guard for three seasons, averaging 13.6 points and 4.6 assists, before putting his name in the transfer portal earlier this week.

“He makes you a better coach, it’s as simple as that,” says Kehoe, who is now the head coach at The Winchendon School. “He puts everybody into play. You can’t speed him up, you can’t slow him down. He plays at the pace the other nine people have to go along with. He’s got incredible vision, incredible timing. Not only are the passes right on your hand, they’re there when supposed to be there, not a half-second late, not a half-second early.

“You look at the kid and you’re like, ‘This kid can’t play in an intramural game.’ Then, he just goes out there and is virtually able to move anywhere on the court he chooses to. He’s an old-school point guard.”

Kehoe, who also coached former Irish players Tim Abromaitis and Eric Katenda, points to former Marist College star point guard Jared Jordan, who led the NCAA in assists two years before going on to be the all-time assist leader for the BBL, the highest professional league in Germany.

Jordan was nicknamed “The Magician” for what he could do with the basketball.

“Rich is just like this kid,” says Kehoe.

It’s still early in the transfer process for Kelly, who isn’t ruling out a return to Quinnipiac, but Notre Dame is on the radar.

“Richie graduated with a degree in Finance in three years,” Kehoe explains. “Out of high school, Richie had Ivy League grades. He wants to get an MBA from a high academic institution. He wants to play at the best level of basketball.

“When you boil this down, he wants high academics, wants an MBA in Finance, last name is Kelly. Does Notre Dame interest him? I’m just going to go dot dot dot and you can finish the rest.”

As Kelly looks around for his next destination, Kehoe is counseling him to search for the best level of competition, not necessarily the highest, although for Kelly it could be the same.

“I saw him play in high school,” says Kehoe. “I recruited him to come play for me. I saw him go to Quinnipiac. I have been waiting for him to get to the level that swallows him up…he hasn’t gotten there.”

The NCAA instituted a dead period until April 15th in response to the COVID-19 virus, but nobody is actually sure when in-person recruiting will be permitted again.

“In my opinion, that’s a soft date because April 15th, I think is going to come and go before we’re confident in having people move around more freely,” says Kehoe.

That makes things difficult for Kelly, but maybe not as difficult as a high school prospect hoping to impress college coaches this spring.

“Rich has got a body of work. He’s got three years of film on Synergy that anybody in the country can watch, so I think grad transfers have an advantage right now because of what’s going on.”

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