By JACK LeGWINSpecial to ZAGSBLOGORLANDO, Fla. –– Luke Kennard has arrived.
A 6-foot-5, 185-pound combo guard out of Franklin (Ohio) High School put on a show in a first round game at the 16U National Championships, knocking down five 3-pointers, and most memorably, hitting a turn-around right-handed hook shot which completed a showcase of his full arsenal.
“My post-up game is something that I have worked on,” Kennard told SNY.tv. “I’ve been in the weight room recently and I’ve gotten a lot stronger over the last year.”
The rising junior recently received an offer from Louisville after his performance at Peach Jam, which joins offers from Kentucky, Michigan State and Duke, as well as many others.
“Coach [Rick] Pitino called me [after] Peach Jam.” Kennard said. “He said that he wants to see me in a Cardinal uniform one day. I would say they are definitely in my top five right now.”
Last year, Kennard took a visit to Kentucky, and enjoyed a tour around the campus with Coach John Calipari. Kennard then picked up the offer from Kentucky after Calipari watched him at Peach Jam.
“He’s a great coach, he sends players to the draft every year, no matter how well they do in the season,” Kennard said. “I really like Coach Cal, and how he runs stuff there.”
Kennard also took a visit to North Carolina this past winter to watch the Duke vs. UNC game, the same night that Andrew Wiggins visited. Not too long after the game, he took a trip over to Duke to see the campus with his family. Since then, Duke has officially offered.
“It would be an opportunity of a lifetime to play for Coach K,” he said. “Coach K is one of the best coaches in the USA, and Duke definitely looks like a fun place to be at.”
In the end, Kennard says that the coaching staff will have a big part in his decision.
“The way that they run things and the style of play that use there,” Kennard said. “I also want academics, it has to be a good education, as well as playing time, because I want to be able to play wherever I go.”
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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.