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Kansas State senior goes way back with Arizona’s MoMo Jones

Kansas State's Curtis Kelly was part of a terrific Rice High team in Harlem.
Photo by Mark D Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Before Kansas State dispatched 12th-seeded Utah State on Thursday, Wildcats senior forward Curtis Kelly got a call from another Wildcat.

Arizona’s MoMo Jones.

They were teammates for one year at Rice High School in Harlem, N.Y. Kelly was a senior. Jones was a freshman.

“When he was young, I knew he was going to be good from the start,” Kelly said of Jones after his Wildcats won a second-round game at McKale Center on Thursday night.

“He had that big body from a young age. He’s kind of the same weight he was back then, which is amazing. MoMo is a hard worker. MoMo is really confident. Everyone knows how confident he is. Some may take it as cocky. I just call it confident.

In Jones’ first game at Rice, Kelly passed him the ball for the game-winning shot. Jones missed.

But that Jones was even in that position speaks to his reputation back home. That Rice team was loaded. In addition to Kelly and Jones, the roster included, Edgar Sosa (Louisville), Kemba Walker (UConn), Durand Scott (Miami) and Chris Fouch (Drexel).

“He had a big-time reputation,” Kelly said of Jones.

“He had a reputation on the streetball park. He had a reputation as being big for his age, and for being aggressive and strong. He was one of the few freshmen who could start in our league. Our Catholic league was really hard.”

Jones called Kelly on Thursday just to wish him good luck, and the former teammates remain close.

Jones will be taking on Memphis on Friday as Arizona’s starting point guard.

“He continues to get better, and I’m proud of him,” Kelly said. “That’s my little brother. I love him.”

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