Completing college applications is a task that Point Pleasant Borough High School senior Kelly Hughes can officially remove from her “To Do’ list, after recently signing a National Letter of Intent with Boston College’s Eagles Women’s Basketball Team.
Taking advantage of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) early signing period, Hughes, age 17, inked a deal to attend the Division I school on Tuesday, November 20, taking the final step in a lengthy and rigorous recruitment process, that began when she was just a freshman.
“It was overwhelming,” Kelly said of the solicitations from colleges and universities from around the globe. “Everyday since freshman year I would have calls, emails, and letters of offers from different schools and it was just overwhelming.”
Princeton, Rutgers, Stanford, Virginia Tech and Harvard were just some of the notable institutions petitioning Kelly for her consideration, before she finally narrowed her choices to Princeton, Villanova and Boston College (BC). But it was Boston, the final stop of her unofficial college tours, that she felt an immediate connection, and ultimately decided to attend.
“In terms of academics, from a social perspective, and, of course, the basketball team, Boston College (BC) me the best combo of the three,” she said “I had considered a couple schools on the west coast but I would like to play where I know my family can come watch the games.”
The fact that Kelly’s older brother Kieran is not only currently matriculating at BC but also a practice player for the College’s Women’s Basketball Team also contributed to the decision making process.
“Because of my brother’s role with the team, I already know most of the players and the coaches and they’re great, I love them,” she said.
Kieran was at Kelly’s side, along with parents Bette and Tim, and Kelly’s twin sister Lauren as she signed the documents that would effectively make her a Boston Eagle, satisfying a verbal agreement made with the school last Spring.
Also in attendance was Kelly’s coach on the Lady Panthers Basketball Team for the past four seasons, Coach David Drew, as well as Principal Kurt Karcich, Athletic Director Dave Kirk and Superintendent of Schools Vincent S. Smith.
“I will never forget this day,” Kelly said while signing the documents. “It is very exciting to know that all my hard work has paid off.”
While her parents, coaches and school administrators looked on with a mixture of pride and awe, the predominant emotion, according to Kelly, was relief.
“Now that it's official, I can start the season knowing this part is done and I can focus on my final season as a Panther,” she said.
But for anyone who might think Kelly plans on coasting through her senior year, nothing could be further from the truth. After winning three consecutive state sectional titles, Kelly has set her sights on a higher target – the overall state title.
“We can achieve more,” Kelly said. “Right now I am going to focus on getting better, becoming stronger and faster and ready to play in the ACC [Atlantic Coast Conference].”
According to Coach Drew, however, a state title may not be the only achievement in Kelly’s immediate future.
“Kelly starts this season with 1,864 career points,” said Drew. “That puts her just 326 points short of the school record held by Christie [Pearce] Rampone. With an average of 23.3 points scored per game she is not only looking at breaking that record but she is also poised to potentially set a new Shore Conference record!”
Although the end of this season will undoubtedly be bittersweet for the coach, as he loses his leading starter, Drew could only reflect on the outstanding work ethic and her overall character.
“Kelly is both an outstanding student, athletically as well as academically,” he said. She is hard-working and dedicated and I know she is going to be an asset to the Eagles.”
Similar statements were expressed by Kelly’s future coach, the Eagles Erik Johnson, who said in a prepared release, "Kelly Hughes is a tough, smart, versatile guard with a complete skill set. She is exactly the kind of guard who will be successful in our system. Her ability to handle the ball, score in a variety of ways, and most importantly play with her head up and use her passing ability will make an immediate impact on our team.
"[She] is a perfect fit for Boston College as a University as well as for our team, our coaching staff, and our program,” he said in the release.
“Throughout her time as a Panther, Kelly Hughes’s level of achievement has been nothing short of phenomenal,” said Superintendent of Schools Vincent S. Smith. “Two consecutive years as Ocean County’s Player of the Year, a player for All-Shore’s First, Second and Third Teams, two-time All-Group First Team Honoree, not to mention a two-year stint as captain of the Lady Panthers Basketball Team – these achievements are but a glimpse of an exceptional high school career, made more remarkable by the fact that Kelly has maintained a near-perfect grade point average, resulting from an impressive blend of Advanced Placement and Honors Courses!"
"Kelly Hughes is an amazing young woman and I am completely confident that her final season with the Lady Panthers will be unforgettable; that is until she begins playing for the Boston Eagles. And even then, Point Pleasant Borough will still be cheering her on," added the Superintendent.
Kelly Hughes begins Boston College in September 2013, where she plans to study business.