DePaul's Jeremiah Kelly (11) wasn't expected to play right away for the Blue Demons as a freshman during the 2008-09 season. He was pushed into extensive service when senior guard Jabari Currie was injured. While Kelly struggled at first with his expanded role, he showed improvement throughout the season.
With the continued improvement of his classmate Michael Bizoukas
and the entry of junior college transfer Mike Stovall
, if Kelly wants to be the starting point guard it will be imperative that he continues to show development in the two key areas that he improved upon significantly late in the 2008-09 season.
Those two areas are shooting and passing - two keys for any point guard.
Kelly's shooting, as measure by effective field goal percentage, was very strong during non-conference play. As soon as he entered Big East play, his shot cooled off dramatically. In a five-game stretch ending with DePaul's game against Marquette on February 3, 2009 Kelly made just two shots. As his slump continued he also became more reluctant to shoot the basketball.
After bottoming out during a 2-9 performance against the Golden Eagles, things began to turnaround for the freshman point guard. He went 5-9 against Pittsburgh on February 21 and 4-8 against Cincinnati in the Big East Tournament victory. By the end of the season Kelly's effective field goal percentage had risen to a more respectable 40.4 percent.
If Kelly can shoot the ball as well as he did at the end of last season, he will be an effective back court weapon for the Blue Demons.
What will make Kelly more effective as a point guard is the improvement he showed in his passing ability throughout the season. Kelly's assist percentage, fluctuated during the season. He had excellent games against Southern and Syracuse. His best passing game of the season came in the season finale against Providence. Playing all 40 minutes of the game against the Friars, Kelly assisted a made basket on more than 10 percent of DePaul's possessions.
While that type of production is incredibly unlikely to continue over a full season, if Kelly's assist percentage climbs into the five or six percent range on a consistent basis it will help create opportunities for others within the Blue Demon's offense.
Overall, Kelly showed solid improvement during his first season in the Big East. He gives the Blue Demons a solid option at the point guard position.