The Elevate Basketball Circuit is a spring hoops series that pits some of the nation’s top prep club programs against each other. It was put together by a man named David Kelly Sr., a Lousville, Kent. based promoter who set up the tournament and collected registration fees from far more than 1,000 teams.
Yet, apparently that’s where the Elevate Basketball Circuit ceased to exist, quite literally. As made clear by Spencer Pulliam of ThePrepInsiders.com, Kelly Sr. closed the circuit’s Atlanta event, only the second in the circuit’s history, without informing teams that had paid some $1,600 per group that the event was not going forward. According to a screenshot from a cell phone shared on Twitter, Kelly Sr. told an associate after midnight on Sunday that he was folding his entire operation, apparently because he could no longer afford the facility scheduled for use in Georgia.
Here’s the full text that is captured on the screenshot:
I have to close atlanta because i can’t pay for the facility. I’m closing EBC. Separate yourselves from me. This is going to be a storm that i can’t fix. Thank you for all of your help and trying to make this work but I’m done. It’s over and I am as well. Thanks.
You read that correctly. Rather than call everyone who should have been notified, not least of all the paying coaches who were bringing teams of teens, Kelly Sr. sent out a text blast and called it a day. Calling Kelly Sr. irresponsible is a profound understatement. Calling him a scammer might be more accurate.
One of Kelly Sr.’s own employees, Lamont Taylor, essentially did just that when asked about Kelly Sr. on Twitter.
According to others who had attended the first Elevate Basketball Circuit event, which was held the last weekend in March, that event was so disorganized that it was less than a shock to some that the entire organization may have been a scam.
So far, Kelly Sr. appears to be attempt a quick retreat into hiding. The entire web presence of Elevate Basketball Circuit, including its web site and Facebook profile, have been scrubbed from the internet. In fact, one of the only places you can still be sure that Kelly Sr. still exists is on LinkedIn, where his position title still lists him as President of the Elevate Basketball Circuit.
How much did Kelly Sr. stand to walk away with by shuttering the event and pocketing the cash? One Twitter user did the quick math and came out with “North of $2 million.”
There is sure to be more that emerges on this story, but the early returns aren’t good, and Kelly Sr. has a lot of explaining to do.