Oct. 18, 2012
When freshman Symone Kelly gave her verbal commitment to play for Siena College in the summer of 2011, she had made her decision early because she had found all of what she was looking for in a school.
"I liked the program, I liked the conference, and I loved the school. It's very family-like and that's what really attracted me to go here."
But toward the end of her senior year at St. Anthony's High School in South Huntington, NY, the 6'2" standout learned that she would not be playing for the coach that had recruited her to play at Siena with the announcement that Gina Castelli was leaving after 22 years as head coach.
A native of Wyandanch, NY Kelly was a highly touted forward from Long Island. A 3-star recruit according to ESPN HoopGurlz with a rating of 85, she had been given scholarship offers from such schools as Hofstra, Delaware, Boston University, Sacred Heart, Mount St. Mary's and Loyola (Md.). As the only incoming freshman, new Head Coach Ali Jaques made a point to let Kelly know that she was still coveted as a Siena Saint.
"She was very energetic she was very positive" said Kelly of Jaques, " and when I came she sat me in the office and said I know I didn't recruit you but I'm really excited to have you and I want you to do your best here."
"It wasn't what I expected" explained Kelly of the departure of Castelli "but I loved the school and I decided to come anyway. I'm glad I came because coach Jaques is amazing."
Although somewhat soft spoken, don't let that fool you, she has aggressiveness to her game as she describes.