Collin Kelley is coming home.
That’s not only good news for the Davis graduate, but Central Washington University’s men’s basketball program as well.
The two-time Columbia Basin Big Nine defensive player of the year signed with the Wildcats, the school announced on Tuesday, after a season at Eastern Arizona College.
“I chose CWU because it’s a chance for me to be closer to home,” Kelley said in Central’s release.
Indeed, about 1,500 miles closer.
Eastern Arizona is a junior college located in tiny Thatcher, a town of fewer than 5,000 not far from the New Mexico border. It’s situated in the Upper Gila River Valley, thus the college’s mascot name of the Gila Monsters — who just had a stellar season thanks in large part to the contributions of Kelley.
The 6-foot-7, 205-pound forward averaged 8.6 points and 5.9 rebounds for Eastern Arizona, which was 26-7 during the 2019-20 season. Kelley, who started 25 games and shot 43.5 percent from the floor, had a season-high 23 points on 9-for-12 shooting against South Mountain and scored in double figures in five of his last nine games.
“Collin is a long and athletic forward,” said CWU coach Brandon Rinta. “Offensively he has a great feel for the game. He is a very good shooter and passer and will fit in great with our offense. Collin is a high-level defender on the other side of the court. He will give us some versatility with his ability to guard multiple positions.”
Kelley was the CBBN’s only two-time winner of the defensive player of the year award over the last 10 years. In those two seasons, 2017 and 2018, the Pirates won back-to-back league titles and posted a 39-9 record. He also earned all-league honorable mention honors as a sophomore.
Kelley had plenty of offensive punch as well for Davis, amassing 1,066 career points and averaging 19.1 points during his senior year.
Rinta’s burgeoning signing class has grown to six and includes Jalai O’Keith, Gaige Ainslie, CJ Hyder, David Thompson and Colby Gennett.