NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — A veritable Who’s Who of big-time coaches watched Luke Kennard and V.J. King of the King James Shooting Stars 16U team here Thursday at the Peach Jam.
For the team’s victory over Tyus Battle and Team Final, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Ohio State’s Thad Matta, Villanova’s Jay Wright, and Illinois’ John Groce sat courtside.
“Right at the beginning of the game, I kind of glanced over there and saw them sitting over there,” said the 6-foot-5 Kennard, a 2015 shooting guard from Franklin Ohio ranked No. 21 overall by Rivals.
Kennard, who can play the one, two and three, said he’s drawn comparisons to Reggie Miller and Kevin Durant.
He has heard from Duke, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana and Louisville and Ohio State since coaches began calling June 15.
“They said they were going to stay in touch to start the process,” Kennard said.
Kennard said he’s heard from Duke’s Steve “Wojo” Wojciechowski and Jon Scheyer.
“They’re going to keep in touch with me and watch me play and see how it goes from there,” Kennard said.
Kentucky has also reached out.
“Coach Cal texts me some, Coach Orlando [Antigua] does too,” he said. “They said they’re going to come watch me play.”
North Carolina’s Williams also watched after missing Kennard in the spring, but has yet to offer.
“He said he’d be here,” he said.
Kennard said his top schools right now include Ohio State, Michigan, North Carolina, Duke and then Kentucky, Florida, Indiana and Louisville.
The 6-6 King, meantime, is a long, athletic wing scorer in the Class of 2016 who plays for LeBron James’ alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary.
He recently won a gold medal with the USA U16 team at the FIBA Americas Championship.
“I have offers from Ohio State, N.C. State, Wisconsin” and others, King said.
He said Antigua reached out to him before the tournament and told him to “play hard.”
As for his game, he’s a fluid scorer who can play the one, two or three and can get to the rim with ease. He said he’s also working on his post game.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.