By Gordon Moore (Prestonburg, Kentucky)
|"King" Kelly Coleman|
During the 1955-56 season, the agile performer chalked up 1,919 counters, a 46.8 point per game average that should last forever.
As a junior, he hit 1,174 points in 36 contests, in his sophomore year, 784 in 30 games, and as a 14-year-old freshman he bucketed 386 in 20 games.
In the 1956 Kentucky State High school basketball tournament, Kelly broke four of the individual records himself and his Wayland team established four more.
The marks he set were:
Most points in one state tournament game, 68, breaking his own record of 50 set against Shelbyville in the opening game.
Memorial Coliseum one-game record, breaking Cliff Hagan's mark of 51 set against Temple for Kentucky.
Four-game individual total of 185 points, breaking the 127 record of the previous year.
New individual point-per-game average of 46.25 breaking the old mark of 31.75.
The son of a former coal miner, Kelly started playing basketball at the age of six on an outdoor court near the city limits of Wayland and was a full-fledged member of the varsity when he enrolled in high school.
He has been named to the all-district team four times, all-regional twice, all-E.K.M.C. twice, all-state twice, as a result of his cage prowess.
The 210-pound 6-3" 18-year old, excels as one of the best rebounders Kentucky basketball has ever seen. He is an adept dribbler and has a very deceptive change of pace, which made him equally effective driving in as shooting his favorite one-hander from back of the foul ring.
University of Kentucky basketball coach, Adolph Rupp, calls Kelly "the greatest high school player who ever lived...A combination of Cliff Hagan, Frank Ramsey, and all of the other great stars who have played at Kentucky."
It has been said, "Basketball coaches have been making history with the fast break offenses that try to produce two-on-one and three-and-two situations, but Wayland's mentor 'Copper-John' Campbell featured a new system -- one on three. This will work nicely any time you can come up with a Kelly Coleman. Very simple."
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