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Kelly Coleman E-mail

Nicknamed the King at the age of 17, Coleman was considered by University of Kentucky's Adolph Rupp to be the greatest high school player of all time. This was in an era when Oscar Robertson and Jerry West were budding as legends.

Coleman averaged 46.8 points per game during his 1955-56 high school season and received a good deal of recruiting interest. He was banned from playing ball at West Virginia University after the NCAA was tipped of by Kentucky that Coleman received major gifts, including the use of a car, clothes and money.

He moved on to play for Kentucky Wesleyan after a short stint at Eastern Kentucky and a steel mill job in between. Coleman was drafted by the Knicks, but had little to no interest in the NBA due to the almost non-existent pay.

The legend of the King has followed him throughout life and is detailed the 2005 book by author Gary P. West entitled, King Kelly Coleman.

BIOGRAPHY If you have additional information you would like to contribute to any player profile (i.e. missing stats, biography), please click here. Please be aware that you must have a verifiable source.









1956-57 Eastern Kentucky FR.

Left School Before Season

1957-58 Kentucky Wesleyan







1958-59 Kentucky Wesleyan







1959-60 Kentucky Wesleyan







NAIA Totals










0 #9 Roy hall 2016-03-19 23:48
We played basketball together on a clay court in Waylon, Ky during 1949 and 1950. We went to grade school together and we're good friends when we weren't fighting.
+1 #8 Doug 2015-12-21 19:27
Whether Kelly was actually injured or just making excuses, the fact remains that he had two chances to outperform Oscar Robertson in the Indiana All-Star series and got shown up both times. Game 1 scoring: Oscar 34, Kelly 17; Game 2 scoring: Oscar 41, Kelly 4.

Look, the kid was good, no doubt about it -- he just wasn't the greatest high school basketball player of all time.

And it's not just Oscar; guys like Moses Malone, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were drafted into the NBA and ABA straight out of high school. Do you seriously think Kelly could have outperformed all of those superstars?
-1 #7 seth 2015-11-19 07:13
Kelly coleman was injured in the all star game against oscar Robertson
+2 #6 Dick Gose 2015-09-16 14:12
"King Kelly" was a legend from eastern, Kentucky in the heart of Appalachia, in a small coal mining town with a gym that seated maybe 250. No one will ever take away from that legend in Kentucky sports.
Having seen the "big O' play a hundred games or so I still consider him to be the best BB player I have ever seen.
-1 #5 Doug 2012-01-30 13:40
Sorry, but when "King" Kelly was matched against Oscar Robertson in the Indiana-Kentucky high school all-star games (they played two), Oscar scored 34 and 41 points while holding "King" Kelly to 17 in the first game and a paltry 4 points in the second game on 1-for-9 shooting. (Indiana won both games easily.)

If Coleman's performances are symbolic of the greatest high school player in history, then what does that make Oscar Robertson? And shall we compare college and professional careers? Don't think so.

In the words of Jim Rome: "SCOREBOARD."
-1 #4 denny 2012-01-05 04:12
The guy shot only 40% from the field, don't think that adds up to best ever. 50% was the bench mark until the 90's when Iverson came along and just gunned 39% fg avg, and was praised.
+4 #3 mike caton 2011-05-09 10:10
What happened when Coleman was guarded by Oscar in the annual Ind./Ky. all star game?
+1 #2 Jim Salyer 2010-04-26 21:23
I played against Kelley in 1956 for Elkhorn City and did good before breaking my arm early in the third quarter. He was amazing, but he only scored thirty-six points.
+2 #1 paul schumacher 2008-12-04 08:40
Kelly Coleman was without a doubt in my mind the greatest basketball player ever to play ball in a high school gym.

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