Shot blocker gets his shot at Division 1

Kylor Kelley signs with the Oregon State Beavers to play basketball

Jeffery Osborns / The Torch Titan center Kylor Kelley goes on offense at practice against teammates. Kelley is averaging 11 points, seven rebounds and blocking 3.8 shots per game, the highest blocking record in the NWAC.

According to the NCAA, only two percent of high school athletes are awarded scholarships to compete in college athletics. The 7-foot Kylor Kelley became part of that two percent on Oct. 16, 2017 when he signed his letter of intent to take his talents to Corvallis and play for the Division 1 Oregon State Beavers.

“It feels amazing, it’s been my dream to play Division 1 basketball ever since I could hold a ball,” said Kelley.

Kelley, who is the no. 26 Junior College player in the nation, was one of the three frontcourt signings for Beavers head coach Wayne Tinkle in October. Kelley joins 7’1” center Jack Wilson from San Mateo, Cal. and 6’11” forward Warren Washington from San Marcos, Cal.

“Kylor is a player who is just scratching the surface of his potential,” said Tinkle on Kelley’s future at Oregon State.

Jeffery Osborns / The Torch Second year Titan Kylor Kelley protects the basketball from his teammate in a practice drill.

Kelley played high school basketball in Gervais, Oregon where he earned 2015 PacWest Player of the Year honors. He averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks per game his senior year. His high level of play attracted Northwest Christian University head coach Luke Jackson to recruit him. Jackson, a former NBA player and University of Oregon standout, convinced Kelley to play his freshman year at NCU. The redshirt freshman played 10 games for the Deacons averaging 8 points, almost nine rebounds and more than five blocks per game.

After one year at NCU, Kelley transferred to Lane Community College to continue his education and bolster his basketball resume.

At one point last spring, Kelley had de-committed from OSU to see if any other schools would offer him a scholarship. He took official visits to Utah, Utah State and Washington State over the summer, but decided to sign back with the Beavers after he visited Corvallis and spent time with Tinkle and other members of the team.

“It felt good to finally sign the papers,” said Kelley.

Tinkle spoke very highly of the versatile center after his visit to OSU.

“Kylor’s size, skill and athleticism make him unique in that he is versatile and can play multiple positions on both ends of the court,”  Tinkle said.

“We’re hoping for instant impact from Kylor next year,”  Tinkle commented on where he sees Kelley fitting into the team.

Jeffery Osborns / The Torch Titan center Kylor Kelley huddles with the team during practice. Kelley signed his letter of intent to take his talents to Corvallis and play for the Division 1 Oregon State Beavers.

Due to a recent foot injury, Kelley has played in just five games this year but is averaging 11 points, seven rebounds, and over three blocks per game for head coach Bruce Chavka and the Lane Titans.

“You better box out or else you’re going to get dunked on,” Chavka said on what Kylor brings to the team.

Kelley will join the Beavers as a redshirt junior next fall.


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Noah Noteboom