Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thanks for the Memories, Kelly Beidler

Written for your enjoyment by: Raff

I get the feeling that if you're a fan of a rival NEC team - you're glad to see Kelly Beidler go. And not just because of the play that #4 brought to the court. But also because of the attitude. I sense that Beidler may not have been the most likable in opponents gyms.

For me, I was a fan - and it never bothered me. Of course, he was wearing the blue and white of the Mount so that had an effect. Beidler was part of the five man recruiting class (Holland, Goode, Cajou, and Jackson) that was much ballyhooed before setting foot on campus what seems like such a long time ago. And he always struck me as the most physically gifted of the group. There have been a lot of great athletes, a lot of great basketball players and a lot of guys with size who have made their way through the Emmitsburg campus. But there were few who combined the three the way Beidler did.

At 6-feet 5-inches and strong - a body once described as Billy Packer - as an ACC type - Beidler became the 41st player in Mt. St. Mary's history to score 1,000 points. But his greatest attribute might not have been in his offensive game. Certainly, he could score, he passed pretty well - and for a player as strong as he was he became a pretty good shooter as well. But where, Beidler really made a difference was on the glass. He is the Mount's all-time leading rebounder in NCAA Division I tournament games. He had 15 in the win over Coppin State. And his rebounding only got better, he averaged a tick below 7 rebounds a game as a junior and a tick above 7 as a senior. He also did a good job defensively. His athleticism led to some big blocks and his speed and quickness allowed him to guard players away from the basket as well.

There was also a striking resemblance between Beidler and Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones. My daughter first noticed it. And as she says, "Jones looks like Kelly". It's not the other way around - and I think Beidler would appreciate that.

I've heard recently that Kelly is upset he won't be back next year. You may remember that Beidler was set to redshirt during his freshman season. But when Joey Butler was dismissed, he quickly moved into the rotation. Now don't get me wrong, I'd love to have Kelly back next year. But I think that everything that went well these past four years had a lot to do with Kelly Beidler. And if he hadn't gotten the experience of his freshman season, after missing the the start of his sophomore season, he may not have been able to contribute the way he did in the NCAA tournament run. And he was plenty needed then. He scored 15 points in all three NEC tournament games. During his junior year, he was named to the NEC all-tournament sheet.

As Mountaineer fans I'm not sure we ever fully appreciated Kelly Beidler, but man are we going to miss him.

So my best wishes to "KELS" as his teammates call him. May his future be bright.

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