Ryan Kelly

Report: Ryan Kelly to return before the NCAA tournament

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It appears that ‘if’ is no longer the correct term to use when discussing the return of Ryan Kelly to the Duke lineup this season.

At this point, it’s a matter of when.

At least that’s what Mike Krzyzewski told USA Today’s Eric Prisbell on Tuesday.

“It would not be this week,” Coach K told Prisbell. “Depending upon on what he is able to do this week will determine if he can play next week or for the ACC tournament. We definitely believe he is going to play before the NCAA tournament.”

The question now is just how good Kelly will be when he gets back on the court. Sitting out for two months while being forced to use crutches and a walking boot is not exactly an ideal way for an athlete to prepare for the NCAA tournament. When Kelly does return, his timing is going to be off. He’s not going to be in game shape. He’s not going to have the kind of strength in his legs that’s he’s used to. How well is he going to be able to shoot the ball? How well is he going to be able to handle the ball?

More importantly, how long is it going to take for him to get back into mid-season form?

With Kelly in the lineup, Duke was arguably the best team in the country. Kelly was such an important piece given his ability to defend multiple positions and stretch the floor for Mason Plumlee in the paint.

If he can get back to that level, the Blue Devils will be a favorite to win the national title.

They’re still a contender if Kelly isn’t the same player, but they won’t be the same team that ran through everyone in their path back in November and December.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Report: Four-star center reclassifying to 2015; down to three

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An interesting recruiting development hit on Friday as Josh Gershon of Scout.com reported that four-star center Jayce Johnson is reclassifying to the Class of 2015 and looking to join a program at semester break.

The 7-foot native of California is down to Cal, Colorado and Utah and Johnson is on an official visit to Utah this weekend after transferring to a charter school this week. As Gershon notes, only Cal has a scholarship to offer Johnson this season, but the family is willing to pay a semester at the other programs if it’s the right fit. Johnson would like to redshirt and train with his future college while playing against more mature players.

But if Johnson is persuaded not to redshirt, he could be an intriguing big man off the bench later in the season for a couple of teams looking to make a postseason appearance. As the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson is a talented prospect and he isn’t afraid to score with either hand. With some time to fill out, Johnson can turn into a talented Pac-12 player down the road.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.