There's an old saying that hard work pays off. In Dustin Kelem's case it has paid off with a dream come true, a college basketball scholarship at Crowley's Ridge College in Paragould.
Kelems is a 2003 graduate of Riverside High School.
"I've always dreamed of playing college basketball," said the 6'3" Riverside Rebel. "I am very, very happy to be playing for Coach McMillan at CRC. I can't wait until the season begins," Kelems added.
Kelems looked anything but a college prospect when he first began playing in elementary but his work ethic and enthusiasm led to his growth as a player through junior high and into senior high play.
"He came to our camp at CRC and really impressed us with his rebounding and attitude. But what really caught our eye was the baby hook shot he has. It's impossible to stop," said CRC Head Coach Royce McMillan.
McMillan said CRC can really use Kelems rebounding and if he takes care of business will see plenty of action as a freshman.
Riverside Coach Buster Campbell said the two time all 3AA North Conference player is a great kid and has a chance to do well in college.
"We will sure miss him here at Riverside," added Campbell.
McMillan said Kelems has great potential and good strong legs.
"We need to work on his upper body strength but I think Dustin can grow both physically and mentally as a player," McMillan said.
Kelems finished his career as Riverside's fourth best rebounder with 743 total for a 7.57 per game average. Kelems posted the sixth best rebounding number in a season with 301 this year. His 9.10 season average ranks second on the all-time Rebel list behind only the 9.70 average set by Len B. Nall during the 1988-89 season.
As a junior Kelems recorded the seventh best single season field goal percentage mark at 60.87 percent.
Kelems also made the All Williams Baptist tournament team as a junior as well as being named to the All NEA team as a junior.