DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke men's basketball team has taken a break from competition to focus on final exams but returns on December 19, against Cornell. Game time is set for 7 p.m., and will be played at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Recently, GoDuke.com sat down with senior Ryan Kelly to learn more about the Raleigh, N.C., native
GoDuke.com: What has been your proudest moment at Duke? Ryan Kelly: I would have to say winning the national championship game and being a part of that team. Nothing was better than that.
GoDuke.com: What was your favorite part of being a Duke student-athlete? RK: The pride and the people. All the people here are unbelievably talented and when you're around talent, it brews even more talent. Being both a student and athlete, I pride myself, not only being able to come to a university like this, but now that I am here, I'm growing with that talent.
GoDuke.com: What is the most misunderstood thing about basketball? RK: I think at times people don't realize how physical the game is. People consider it finessing, but there's a lot of banging, a lot of bodies hitting bodies.
GoDuke.com: Can you tell me a story about when you first started playing basketball? RK: Well, I've been playing basketball since I can remember, but the story I always tell is the first time I ever walked. When you're a kid, normally when you learn how to walk you have to grab onto something and you're not officially walking until you let go. So the first thing my parents did to get me to walk without holding on to like a table or their hand was to hand me a basketball. We have a picture of me first time ever walking, walking with a basketball in my hand so it's been in my hand since I can remember.
GoDuke.com: Any words of wisdom to pass along to freshmen or future Blue Devils? RK: Yeah, I think one of the biggest things is you have to believe in yourself. You're going to have your ups and you're going to have you downs, but always know that the work that got you to a place like Duke or wherever you are, if you continue to do those things, you're going to be fine.
GoDuke.com: If you could choose anyone to be your mentor, who would it be? RK: My father. There's no one better as a man, and I'm proud to be his son. He's someone that I've always looked up to.
GoDuke.com: What's your favorite midnight snack? RK: Well I've been trying to eat a little better so I don't eat at midnight anymore, but I guess if I do, often it's a bowl of cereal. My roommates and I have been going with Fruit Loops a lot.
GoDuke.com: Any hidden talents? RK: I played the big double bass in high school. I don't know if I can play it anymore though.
GoDuke.com: What is one possession you can't live without? RK: The Bible. It's something that is always encouraging for me. Like I said, in those ups and downs I always have that.
GoDuke.com: If you could play any sport other than your own, what would it be? RK: It probably would have been baseball. I played it when I was a kid, and once I started playing basketball I stopped. That was the game I always enjoyed, and that was the game you really had to think to appreciate it and I always liked that.
GoDuke.com: Did you have a favorite basketball player or a player you looked up to when you were younger? RK: It was my dad too. He played basketball at Yale and then professionally in France. We were both tall and had somewhat similar skill sets. When I grew taller than him and we played one on one, those were pretty big moments.
GoDuke.com: Mountains or beach? RK: I'm a beach guy. Always been a beach guy. Atlantic beaches are my spot right now. That's where my family goes.
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