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Temple WBB adds to '24 recruiting haul with versatile wing Kelian Cedano

08/28/2023, 1:45pm EDT
By Josh Verlin

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)

It was so clear to Kelian Cedano, it might as well have been transparent: everybody around her could tell.

The Boston-area native had compiled more than 20 Division I offers by her final summer of grassroots basketball, having stood out with her Putnam Science (Mass.) squad as a junior and then with the New York Gauchos on the 17U circuit for the second year in a row, giving her no shortage of options when it came to picking a college. 

Kelian Cedano (above) committed to Temple earlier this month. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

But to Cedano, not one of them stacked up to Temple.

“I looked really deep into my recruitment, I put a lot of thought into it, it took me a while,” she said, “but in the back of my head I always knew that Temple was where I was going to go. And a lot of other people did, too — they could tell how highly and how good I thought about it.

“The first time I went on an unofficial visit, it felt right, everything felt right […] I just had that feeling, and even after going on many other visits, I went to several other schools, in my heart I still felt like Temple is where I felt the most comfortable, where I felt like I would fit in there the most. I just really like everything altogether, it’s a good school for me and I’m excited and I’m blessed that I got the opportunity. I hope to stay there and be successful, that’s my goal.”

Cedano became the third member of Diane Richardson’s incoming 2024 class earlier this month, joining Westtown’s Savannah Curry and Archbishop Carroll (Fl.)’s Adena Webster in a strong group of wing/guards. She committed during her official visit back on August 12. 

That was a little more than a year after Richardson and her staff extended an offer; they spent the rest of 2022 and all of 2023 making Cedano one of their top recruiting priorities, the second-year staff still working on transforming the Owls program into the one they want and not the one they inherited. In Cedano, they’re getting a bouncy 5-9 wing/guard who rebounds at a high rate, scores inside and out, and can play in an uptempo, aggressive defensive scheme.

“They’ve been to open gyms, they’ve been to practices, they’ve been to all the games, all the tournaments, AAU and high school,” Cedano said. “They were the most loyal bunch and they showed real interest, which is important because it shows that they think highly of me, and I think highly of them.”

Cedano’s versatility is what sticks out upon watching her; she might not ever be the Owls’ leading scorer, but it’s her defensive abilities and athleticism which combine with her inside/out scoring ability that’ll allow her to play in multiple spots in a five-out, free-flowing set. That’s the goal Richardson and her staff have for the program, which went 11-18 (6-10 AAC) last year in their first year on the sidelines in Philly, having come up from Towson the year before.

Cedano played with the Gauchos' 17s in both 2022 and 2023. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

It’s no accident that Cedano and the Owls connected so strongly. Devin Hill, who coached Cedano both with the NY Gauchos in 2022 and at Putnam this past season, had a feeling that Richardon’s coaching style and the school itself would be a good match for what Cedano was looking for.

What he didn’t anticipate was how well their personalities would click, too; Hill only knew Richardson by reputation prior to their meeting last fall, but all it took was one unofficial visit to North Broad for him to see how good of a match it was.

“When we went there, it was just a great fit,” Hill said. “We watched them practice, stayed the whole day and it just felt really good the whole time.”

Cedano and Hill have known each other for only about a year and a half, but the former DePaul big man has quickly become one of her mentors. She followed him from Putnam Science back closer to home at South Shore Christian (Mass.), where Hill is the school’s new athletics director and head girls’ basketball coach, intending on building a national-level program.

“I believe in quality over quantity,” Cedano said. “I’ve known him for a shorter time than I’ve known a lot of people and he’s done so much for me that a lot of people haven’t done [...] he took me on all my visits, he’d bring me to Gauchos practices, he’d pick me up, go an hour and a half out of the way to NY for practice, stuff like that. He’s always been a big part and a big help.”

Hill noted Cedano’s maturity at 18 years old — she’s working two jobs this summer, at a daycare and at a deli, helping her mother out with the three of her siblings that she lives with. That balance somehow includes basketball, games and workouts, plus her schoolwork during the year, a workload that certainly has her ready for life as a Division I student-athlete, her plan to study accounting in Temple’s Fox School of Business.

“It can be overwhelming sometimes,” she said, “but I just am glad that I’m being introduced to the life of an adult early, so when it’s really time, I’m prepared. But getting a glimpse of adulthood really has opened my eyes, a lot. Changed my perspective about life.”


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