It takes something special to get recruited and commit to a college program in the seventh grade. Allen Iverson-type talent. Dylan Moses talent. Deja Kelly talent.
Deja Kelly. That’s who. The San Antonio seventh grader is a girls hoops phenom, and she recently commitment to the University of Texas … even though she’s more than a year away from playing her first lick of college basketball. Kelly is a Class of 2020 star at Luna Middle School, where she single-handedly dominates basketball games. She’s also the daughter of a former University of Texas basketball player — Darren Kelly, who helmed point guard for the Horns from 1999-2001 — and grew up with strong genetic and regional reasons to love the Longhorns.
That’s what inspired her to waste little time in accepting a scholarship offer when it was forthcoming during her family’s visit at UT’s football game against Iowa State. Kelly was supported by her mother immediately and her father eventually, though he admitted that he hoped she would take more time to think about her choice before committing.
In the end, the youngest Kelly was convinced there was no need to wait, with her mother, who is also her coach, agreeing that the situation was right.
“We are confident about the decision,” Kelly’s mother, Theresa Nunn, told ESPNW. “I definitely think she made the right choice.
“If basketball were taken away tomorrow, she’d still be in love with the school.”
Moving up the basketball hierarchy early is nothing new for Deja Kelly. She began playing against fifth graders when she was five and received her first college scholarship offer before she had even reached middle school.
Throughout it all, the only eyes she had were for Texas, with a driven desire to follow in her father’s footsteps. Now she’ll get the chance, with peace of mind coming much sooner than she may have imagined.
‘This has just always been my dream,” Deja Kelly told NBC’s Today. “I just love it.”
Added her mother:
“It’s just a different situation,” Nunn said. “She has always said she wanted to go to Texas.”