Bone develops into star for No. 13 Texas A&M
Texas A&M’s Kelsey Bone has developed into a star for the
13th-ranked Aggies this season, ranking third in the Southeastern
Conference in scoring (17.4) and second in rebounds (9.8).
She’s come a long way since her start in the sport when Bone’s
first coach told the 5-foot-10 elementary school girl that she
would never be a basketball player and that she should try
”I was uncoordinated,” Bone recalled. ”I had grown really
fast so my body and my mind were trying to catch up. I was the
biggest person on the team and I was terrible.”
Despite the harsh words of that first coach, Bone’s mother Kim
Williams refused to let her daughter quit and soon found her a new
Unfortunately, the change of scenery didn’t do much to improve
”She didn’t want to run up and down the court,” Williams said.
”The balls would go everywhere. It was amazing to watch how cruel
adults could be, because people would laugh. Here was this big kid
and she just didn’t know how to play basketball at all – had no
sense of awareness about it.”
Because of her size, Bone made an AAU team that advanced to the
national competition a couple of years after she first started
playing. Bone’s team faced a squad called the Georgia Pistols at
nationals, but she spent most of the game watching from the
”They had all these little, bitty girls that were super-fast
and Kelsey couldn’t play,” Williams said. ”She was just too slow.
She was not going to be able to keep up.”
Bone’s team lost, but the experience, which included her first
glimpse of how exciting basketball could be when it was played in
front of a big crowd, made an impression on her.
On the drive home Bone was quiet until the girl who had begged
every day to quit basketball turned to her mother and made a
”I told her: `I will never sit on the bench ever again,”’ Bone
From that moment on, Bone spent almost every day in the gym
working on her game. By the next summer she was getting the hang of
it, and a few years later she had grown to 6-4 and morphed into one
of the top high school players in the country.
She was the McDonald’s player of the year in 2009 and the
second-rated recruit in the nation (behind Baylor’s Brittney
Griner) that season. Despite living in Houston, just about 100
miles up the road from Texas A&M, Bone signed with South
Carolina because of her affinity for the SEC-style of
As a freshman, her 9.2 rebounds a game led the SEC and she
averaged 14 points to earn SEC newcomer of the year. But Bone
missed Texas and decided to transfer to A&M after one
Bone had to sit out a year because of NCAA transfer rules, and
found her return to the court difficult.
”There were so many expectations for me last season,” she
said. ”I’d never set out a year. I didn’t factor in the adjustment
to not playing for a year. I never even thought of it. I was never
consistently moving up the ladder. I would take one step forward
and three steps back.”
Despite her struggles she still managed to average 11.9 points
and 6.9 rebounds a game last season and nab Big 12 newcomer of the
year honors. She was limited to 24 minutes a game last season
because of her conditioning level.
That is a big reason why she committed herself to getting in
better shape this offseason.
”It was a long process for me,” she said. ”From the moment we
lost to Maryland in the tournament, in the locker room I made the
decision. From that point forward everything I did everyday was
about that decision. I did more. I knew I would have to be in the
best shape of my life.”
Her work has paid off. The junior is averaging a team-leading
30.5 minutes a game this year.
The Aggies look to get back on track on Sunday when they host
LSU. Texas A&M had won eight games in a row before a recent
tough stretch where the team dropped three of its last four
But Bone is no stranger to setbacks, and believes they provide
an opportunity for improvement.
”The one thing I never want to be in complacent,” she said.
”I want to be looking for ways to be better. Sometimes failure
helps me with that. There’s no better teacher in life than
When things aren’t going well, she often thinks back to the
tough start to her basketball career and knows she’ll be OK. It
also helps to know that her mother is always behind her to support
her no matter what.
”She is 100 percent why I am in the position I am in today,”