OBCA All-State basketball: Putnam City's Kendural Jolly putting his faith in prep-school route
EDMOND — Kendural Jolly has grown accustomed to making adjustments.
Although Jolly received offers from Cameron University and a number of junior colleges, the Putnam City graduate was one of the few athletes on the floor Saturday at UCO's Hamilton Field House who didn’t sign to play college basketball next season.
Instead, he opted for an unusual path in furthering his basketball dreams.
In May, Jolly signed to Florida Coastal Prep, a post-graduate intuition designed for players who want another year to earn an athletic scholarship. The post-grad program doesn’t count against Jolly’s NCAA timeline. So upon graduation, he will still have five years of eligibility.
“It’s basically like a year off,” Jolly said. “We play college teams and JUCOs, JV colleges and other prep schools, but it doesn’t count against eligibility. So I ain’t even taking classes, I’m just going to be doing SAT prep and working on my body and my game. That’s about it.”
Jolly, who is a 5-foot-9, 162-pound guard, said his father advocated for the preparatory route noting it would give him another year to build his body and impress more colleges. Jolly didn’t hesitate to listen to his father.
“I put my faith in it,” he said.
In the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association's large-school all-state game on Saturday, Jolly began his campaign to impress more schools. With 18 seconds left in the first quarter, he fired a 3-pointer from the right-wing that dropped through the cylinder. But Jolly wasn’t done yet.
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On the ensuing possession, he stole the ball, made a pass, received it back and knocked down another 3-pointer from the top of the key that dropped at the buzzer. The shot put the Large West down by just one point and gave Jolly the most points after the first quarter.
“At first, I was thinking I was just going to have a little fun,” Jolly said, wearing a smile after the game. “But then they started playing hard and I can’t just come out here and get smacked. I was like, ‘I got to put the foot on the gas.’”
Jolly was the leading scorer off the bench for the Large West with 13 points. He only trailed Midwest City’s Christian Cook, who scored a game-high 22 points for Large West in an 89-84 loss to Large East.
Putting together a string of baskets and being the driving force of a team’s offense wasn’t an unusual role for Jolly. He was the star and leading scorer at Putnam City last year. But even though he’s been a starter for the Pirates the last two seasons, he quickly grew comfortable coming off the bench for the West.
“I just had to get adjusted quicker than usual,” Jolly said. “Four minutes in, four minutes out, I haven’t done that since the first grade. So yeah, I had to get adjusted real fast.”
Jolly, who will leave for Florida Coastal Prep in September will have to be ready to make another adjustment.
“It’s just different,” he said. “I’ve been in Oklahoma City my whole life. Soon as I get there, we on the beach. So I’m going to have to get adjusted quick and really focus on my priorities.”
If he adjusts to Florida as quickly as he adjusted to coming off the bench in the All-State game, he definitely will have more college offers to come.