As the summer draws to a close, things are just now starting to heat up for Parkway Central girls basketball standout Jayla Kelly.
The 6-foot-4 post player, who is heading into her senior year at Central, had an extremely productive summer playing with the Missouri Phenom in the Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL).
Kelly has trimmed a long list of college suitors to Missouri, Missouri State, Northwestern, Purdue, St. Louis University and TCU. Kelly said while each of her final six are all in the running, she has official visits scheduled to Purdue, Northwestern, Missouri and TCU.
“It's kind of a little more of a relief, of course I still have to make the final decision,” Kelly said. “It's a relief to know that I can just focus on these schools. I can hone in on them. I know that I've picked really very good schools, so I know wherever I go, I'll be happy. It would be nice to (make a final school decision) before the high school season starts.”
Kelly had a strong junior season for Parkway Central, which she helped lead to a 24-7 record and third-place finish in Class 5. She averaged 12.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game and earned first team Post-Dispatch All-Metro honors.
During the AAU season, Phenom coach Greg Logsdon said Kelly's already strong individual game grew by leaps and bounds.
“She worked a little bit more on the perimeter, she worked at taking it more off the dribble,” Logsdon said. “She added a couple nice moves around the bucket and, all in all, she just had a phenomenal summer, which led to a multitude of offers. She's really good, she's athletic and she can jump out of the gym and she's very strong. In the past, her game revolved around the basket, using her size and strength. She's added some nice finishes around the bucket.”
Logsdon added Kelly's work over the past couple of summers has helped the post player further broaden her basketball horizon.
“She's just a great kid,” Logsdon said. “We've had her in the Phenom program since she was very young. I got to coach her this year and Travis Wallace, who coached at Jennings and just moved to MICDS, coached her the last couple of years. She's gotten to play for a lot of different coaches and she's seen a lot of different things.”
Those different views of the game has made her game more complete, Kelly said.
“I thought this was my best summer yet for AAU,” Kelly said. “Our team did really well and I thought I did really well as a player. I thought I developed a lot defensively. I thought my athletic abilities were really able to show. My versatility was also able to show.”
Kelly said she is ready for an exciting fall and winter, both on and off the court.
“It's a good feeling to know that people have really supported me on my journey,” Kelly said. “Everybody has supported my decisions. I'm just really excited and I hope that people following along are, too.”