Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A&M's (soon-to-be) White House Connection

It’s no secret that Brazos County votes mostly conservative during presidential elections, but one Aggie coach has a legitimate tie with president-elect Barack Obama.

Women’s basketball assistant Kelly Bond, a Chicago native, attended the same high school as Michelle Obama, the wife of Senator Obama. Both attended Whitney Young High School in Chicago, albeit they graduated several years apart.

According to Wikipedia, Whitney Young is a highly selective magnet school in Chicago, which is routinely ranked as one of Illinois’ best public institutions. The site claims more than 9,000 students applied for 450 available spots in the 2007-08 school year.

Bond has worked for A&M head coach Gary Blair for several years and has developed quite a reputation as being an ace recruiter. Blair is certainly high on the work Bond has done, including this year’s recruiting class that ranks among one of the top in the nation.

“She has been very instrumental in everything we’ve been doing in recruiting for the last five years, and for three years before that at Arkansas,” Blair said. “She has a tremendous reputation all over the nation, not just with players but also with AAU coaches and high school coaches. She has to think like me; she has to know whether a player will fit the system that I can coach.”

As far as her connection with the soon-to-be First Lady, Bond said she has not yet crossed paths with Michelle.

“Michelle is class of ’84, but one of the things the school does is have a women’s synopsis every year and bring a couple (alumni) back as guest speakers,” Bond said. “Hopefully, she’ll have time to come back to her old stomping grounds, and we’ll get a chance to interact at some of those events.”

With all the media coverage of Senator Obama’s basketball prowess, one of Bond’s biggest recruiting jobs may come in the next 10-15 years.

“I’m not sure how much game (Michelle) has,” joked Bond. “But she has two younger daughters that I’m going to keep my eye on because we know (their father)’s got game.”

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